When I first decided I would be attending the University of Georgia, I was ecstatic. It was close to my hometown, I had people I knew who were coming here, and everything was perfect. The closer it got to move in day, and the more I thought about it, I had no idea what I was getting into. My entire life was about to change. I would be living in a new city, going to school in a new city, and have to adjust literally every aspect of my life. I wasn't prepared for that, but then again, I'm not sure anyone ever is. Here's what I've learned in the past nine months.

I learned that change isn't a bad thing. I have never, ever, in my entire life, enjoyed change. It scares me. It stresses me out. I never know what to expect. I thought that if everything around me changed, I had to change too. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, senior me in high school thought it was. The first month of college me thought it was. About a month into college, someone very close to me told me something that really stuck. He said to me, "embrace and own the changes to come. Know that you are valued and have so many talents, whether you want to admit it or not." I thought that change meant that I didn't know who I was, or that what I was doing was wrong. It took me a while to realize that change isn't representative of incorrect, but rather of growth.

I learned the importance of having good friendships. See, in college (or for me at least) it's so easy to meet people and make acquaintances, but it's hard to make actual friends. You see so many people every day in the dining halls, in class, and just walking around campus, but there are very few situations that allow for deep connections to be made. I found the importance of different organizations and how they impacted my social life.

I learned the importance of having good, intentional friendships. So yeah, you have your friends in English class, and you have a group of people in your dorm you socialize with, but those aren't going to be good enough in college. In college, you have to be intentional with every single relationship you have. You have to meet half way for with each other, be there for each other, and help each other whenever possible. You don't have time for anything less anymore.

I learned that it doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, studying is a MUST. In high school, I didn't study. I didn't have to. Somehow, I retained any information that I needed to. Yeah, I was THAT kid. Oops. College was a big slap in the face when I realized I couldn't just skate through classes anymore. If I wanted the same grades I wanted in high school, I had to work hard for them. I had to figure out a study system and schedule that worked with me. No, I didn't like it either.

Freshman year at UGA changed me in so many ways, I would probably need another hand if I wanted to use my fingers to count. I've grown as both a person and a student, but more importantly, I've changed. Look at me go. I've learned so many things this past year, but that's probably the biggest one.