I remember when I couldn't wait to get to college. I remember counting down the days until our arrival through our Class of 2020 GroupMe and spending countless hours chatting with these new people that I'd be spending the next four years of my life with. I had all of these expectations for how things were going to go from here, and how much things were about to change. I was right about one thing: everything did change, but the expectations that I had from the summer did not match up with everything that has happened since I've been here. I've learned so much in such a short amount of time, and I can't imagine it going any other way.

First, I've learned that the most important thing that you can be is yourself. Your parents have probably been drilling this into your head since elementary school and your first bully told you that you were lame. But I didn't really get the message that the person I am is the best and only person I can be until I got to college. Before this, there is a very select group of people that you are supposed to fit in with, and if you don't, your life is pretty unfortunate. In college, I've never felt more accepted at face value, for exactly who I am and who I want to be.

Second, I've had to accept that things aren't easy. Sure, I knew this before, but now things that were easy six months ago are really difficult now. For instance, managing money, making adult decisions, and overall just making sure that you're actually not doing a really stupid thing can be challenging. There's no one looking over your shoulder to tell you that maybe going out with your friends on a Thursday night isn't the best idea, or that maybe you shouldn't "treat yourself" to another overly expensive piece of clothing or a nice meal when you know you don't really have the money for it.

Third, I've had to accept that not everyone from your past will follow you to your future. I regularly talk to maybe three people that I went to high school with, and those are people that I knew would be my forever friends regardless of where I went. There are definitely a few people that I thought I would maintain a relationship with that I have now, incidentally, lost contact with. It hurts for awhile, sure, but the ache slowly goes away as you make new friends and find more people that will be part of your future.

Lastly, I've learned to stop trying to plan everything. As my first semester is ending, I've realized that most everything that has happened since I arrived wasn't something I planned. The people I call my best friends are people that, over the summer, I never would have guessed would be part of my life in such a significant way. Although not everything is what I expected it to be, I wouldn't change any of it for the world.

To sum it all up, if I've learned anything this semester, it's that everything happens for a reason, and I can't wait to see what next semester has in store.