Everyone says that your high school years are the best years of your life. I do not agree with this statement at all. I think college is what really should be labeled as the best years of one's life. College teaches you to live on your own, to form connections, and to prosper in ways you would never have imagined. You arrive in a strange and unfamiliar place, and before you know it, this is the spot that becomes the place you are most comfortable calling home. You meet people that change your views on life and truly challenge you to think in different ways. You grow even more independent than you thought you were during your late high school years, and you really learn what it's like to live your own life. Your standards that you have learned from your family and friends back home are challenged, and over time they change for the better. You learn who and what deserves your time and the type of individuals you want to surround yourself with because here, you do have a choice. You make friends and you lose friends, and you learn that it is simply a healthy part of life. My college choice was to come to SUNY Oswego, and I can honestly say I am so happy I chose to go here. SUNY Oswego has changed me, and it continues to shape me, mold me, and help me grow stronger and smarter every day.

I came to college thinking I was already independent and had in mind that I was just solely here to get a diploma, but I was wrong. Eventually, I realized that I came here to shape who I am, to work toward who I want to be and where I want to be, both now and in my future.

At SUNY Oswego, I have learned that umbrellas aren't as resilient as I once thought they were. I have learned that change is part of a healthy lifestyle. That the people you meet and surround yourself with are those that shape you the most. This college has taught me countless things in many different ways, from classes to nights out with friends, to adventures and talks about life. The way I am today would be completely different if I chose to attend college somewhere else.

I would never have met my friends. I wouldn't have met the people that were in my life for a brief time that taught me countless lessons. I would not have the pleasure of taking a short walk to the shore of Lake Ontario and seeing the perfect Oswego sunset. I would have never known what the D-Bus really was, or how important it is to let loose and have some fun every now and then. I wouldn't have learned that hockey is actually a big deal. I would have never gotten the chance to break a world record.

This place called Oswego has become a place worth calling home. It has taught me, tested me, and given me hope for the future. Without this ongoing experience of attending this beautiful college, I would not be where I am today. I would not be who I am today.

Thank you SUNY Oswego for giving me just what I need, exactly when I need it. Thank you for being my home.