Summer 2013, I was getting ready to go into my freshman year of college. My mom and I were doing some back to school shopping at Aerie (we all know that seven undies for $25.00 is a deal to die for). I remember this day like it was yesterday. I somehow got into a conversation with the woman working the cashier about how I was going to be a freshman at the University of Hartford that upcoming September. I explained to her that I had just graduated high school, and I couldn’t wait to start this new journey that was ahead of me. She said back to me, “Enjoy it while you can because in a blink of an eye, it will all be over.”

Of course, when she said that to me, I thought that time would never come. I felt as though college would go on forever -- that the excitement of freshman year would never end. I couldn’t fathom that my college years would be able to fly by, and in the snap of a finger, I would be an adult.

Now, that I am going to be a senior in college in September, I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my experience at school. Did I make the most of it? Did I make amazing friends? Do I love my major? These questions buzz around my head as senior year approaches.

The answer to all of them is yes. I have made the most of my college experience thus far and continue to do so as a Senior. I made the most amazing friends I could ask for and love my major. But, in order for someone to have the greatest college experience of their life, one must learn to step outside of their comfort zone freshman year.

Freshman year will make or break you. If you do it right, it will make you into the person you are -- into the senior you are meant to be. If you bond with your roommate, talk to strangers in hope of making new friends and embrace the exciting experience you were given, then you will strive.

Freshman year sets you up for having an incredible four years ahead of you if you do it right. You will come across a lot of people freshman year. Some will stick by your side until graduation, some will transfer, and some will be your enemy. But, if you make the most of your freshman year then you should have an amazing three years ahead of you.

Because I made the most of my freshman year, I can honestly say that is why the rest of my years at college have been so incredible. Freshman year taught me that I have to take risks, and it is OK if I fail at them. No matter how many times I fall down, I can get back up. Freshman year also taught me that people will walk in and out of your life, but your college soul mates will always be there because they’re the people who will support you the most. Freshman year is the reason I had a great sophomore, junior and soon to be senior year. I’m thankful for the people I’ve met along the way and the memories that came with it.

Now, as a soon-to-be senior (I get chills when I say that), I can look back on my college experience knowing that I did it right. Without the amazing people I met along the way, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You’ve all shaped me somehow -- and for that, I am forever grateful.