The first year of college is one of the most trying times for anyone. It's the first time that you're fully independent of your parents, where you have to wake yourself up for your classes because your roommate probably doesn't have your exact schedule, you eat when the spirit moves you, and you prioritize your time in any way you want. College is a time of growth, where you leave behind your 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. high school experience and have to start over.

Yet, I've realized that some people can't leave high school behind, and bring with them the petty drama and unnecessary rumors that littered the halls of high school and spread like wildfire. There is a consistent stream of gossip and preconceived notions that ruin a potential future relationship between two people, all because someone decided that a rumor they heard about someone else was worth sharing.

I understand why people hold on to the drama that is caused when other people decide to gossip. But, for the people who learn about their reputation from their friends, because someone decided to share it with them and, being a good friend, they told them what someone had said, it's hard. College is the first time where you get to go out on your own and live life as a semi-functioning adult, and no one wants to be dragged back to their high school experience.

For the people who bring high school to college with them and the people who believe rumors about someone even if they haven't met that person, you need to get over yourself. It is not fair to the people about whom you're talking. Imagine if it happened to you. College is a challenging time, the coursework is more difficult and there is no one there to tell you what to do with your time. It is hard enough to balance academic coursework with a social life and extracurricular activities, not including being able to maintain strong mental health. Although it can be heartbreaking to hear rumors that have been said, it can show you who your true friends are. There are a lot of people you meet when starting college who seem like they could be your best friends, but as soon as you turn your back, they're whispering about you. There is no doubt in my mind that my close friends would be the first to speak up on my behalf if they heard something negative about me. And that means more to me than a reputation.

It's easier said than done not to let rumors and other people's perception affect you. The difference being let it hurt you and accepting that there's nothing you can do are two very separate things. But what other people think of you is something that is entirely outside of your control, and all that you can really do is decide not to let it be known that it bothers you. You have every right to be upset if you hear something negative about yourself, especially if it isn't true or something you did has been blown out of proportion. There is no definitive list of traits that a person can have to be strong, and there is not a list of actions that you can take in order to move on from being hurt by rumors. But the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to move on. To make sure that you are happy and comfortable in your own skin. It may seem like a burden to fully accept yourself and like every single thing about yourself. No one is perfect.