It is crazy to think that next semester is my last semester of college. I honestly can't believe it. I keep thinking back to freshman year, and it's wild to think about how much I changed. Three years ago, I moved my things into the tiny room in the dorm, Oglethorpe House. Freshman year was full of fun and carefree moments, and sometimes I catch myself wishing I was 18 again.
You definitely learn a lot in college, and in some aspects, I feel like I have learned more outside of the classroom than inside it. It's the first time you are away from home, so you have to figure out and learn things for yourself. I have made a lot of mistakes and learned from them. For example, after Hurricane Irma last year, the traffic light by my apartment was out, so I didn't realize that I needed to treat the light as a four-way stop. So guess who got a ticket for running a red light? Me.
I also learned a lot about taking responsibilities for things. After my first (and hopefully ever) car wreck, I had to accept and learn that the accident was my fault (and pay the $200 fine and get a job to pay for it woohoo). I learned to be more careful when I back out of parking spots (to this day, I will not park in that parking spot).
Some things you learn from the hard way.
I learned that being a nice and giving person is a good thing, but not when you are disrespected and treated wrongly. People will take advantage of your kindness if you aren't careful. If someone says something hurtful, talk to them about it. If they don't listen or treat you badly because of it, are they really your friend? On the flip side, be aware of what you did wrong and own up to it. I have learned that owning up to my mistakes and being the adult in the room is better than playing the victim card.
In college, I have had my first dorm experience, first job, my first speeding ticket, my first car wreck, my first apartment, my first internship, and my first tattoo. I have had fun adventures out of the country and to different cities. I have lost friends and made new ones. I have felt heartbreaks, and I have hurt other people. I have had disappointments and successes. I have felt the loss and lost loved ones. I have had things taken away from me, and have had my life turned upside down overnight. I have felt pain and anger and happiness and laughter. I have felt confident and completely insecure.
Going into senior year, I'm glad that I have learned the things I have. Sure, situations and people were stressful at times, but I have learned a lot about myself and how I want to be treated.
If freshman year me could see me now, I don't think she would recognize me. However, I think that's okay. You are supposed to mature and grow into the person you are meant to be. You are going to have some rocky spots, where maybe you don't even like who you are becoming, and that's okay too. You are allowed to not be perfect. You are allowed to make mistakes.
Even though I'm terrified to graduate next year and go out in the real world, I'm excited to see what else I learn. And I am going to focus on being myself.