As freshman year begins to come to a close, I have begun to reflect on the things that characterized myself and the person I was throughout the year, and how that’s changed from the fresh-faced freshman I was at the beginning of this year. People always told me that college is a time of intense change and evolution of the self, and I always shrugged it off and figured that I would experience it myself when the time comes. The time eventually came, but the change in myself was something that I only realized through hindsight.

Entering freshman year, there was nothing that could have prepared me for the feeling of being in an entirely new city with no one I even vaguely knew. Personally, being a major extrovert and generally enjoying the act of meeting new people I figured that I would make friends easily enough, and transition into college with no bumps and flaws. However, I had a much harder transition than I previously believed, causing myself to doubt myself and my character. However, I am constantly thankful for that experience and the rest of the experiences I had during freshman year since they always challenged me to grow into the person I am now.

Something that I learned from being a college freshman is that it’s always okay to be that “freshman." It’s okay to be homesick sometimes, to call your mom crying because you’re not sure if you actually have friends that you like, and to text your friends at 3 in the morning because you need someone to talk to. I have realized that it’s possible to be lonely in a room filled with people, at a party, and also surrounded by your closest friends. Over this past year, I have been that freshman who has gotten a little too crazy on a Friday night and regretted it immediately the next morning, that freshman who realized her friends weren’t really the people she saw herself being close to for the rest of her life, and that freshman who put everything into a person who she realized wasn’t worth it.

College has always been something more than a place to study, but rather a place to learn. Learn academics, learning life lessons and learning to appreciate the people and things that I have in my life has been taught to me ever since I stepped on campus in August.

Reflecting on my first year of school, it perhaps was a somewhat stereotypical first-year experience, but my personal experiences have made myself into something that I am proud of. However, perhaps the best lesson is that I am never done having lessons and that this is just one year out of four more. The beauty of experience is that it always teaches and although it may be one of the most difficult things you’ve done, it becomes part of your story, one that eventually becomes part of your life.