These past few months have been challenge after challenge, but I would not want to be anywhere else than where I’m at right now.

College can be hard. It’s stressful and challenging, both mentally and physically. It’s more socialization than we’ve ever been exposed to, and that can easily make it the time of our lives or be absolutely draining. Sometimes it’s both.

Throughout my first semester in college, I’ve been pushed to my limits. I’ve been pushed by my professors, by my friends, by my leaders and by myself. I’ve lived out of my comfort zone for the past five months, and through that, I’ve learned so many valuable lessons about myself and the person I want to be.

My friends have taught me the importance of enjoying myself and having fun. I definitely could not have survived my first semester of college without the amazing group of people I’ve already met. Whether it’s going to meetings, grabbing a meal with some friends, or hanging out with my amazing roommate, having fun with our friends are the times we’re going to remember when looking back on our “college days.”

My professors have taught me that failure will happen, but I can overcome it and stand on my own. Although, learning to ask for help is important too. Getting back that first test that you totally failed is absolutely defeating, but you can bounce back.

Living on my own has taught me that my siblings are actually pretty cool. Before I knew it, my annoying little brothers grew up, and suddenly, the kids I couldn’t stand growing up are really awesome people that I can relate to. That’s pretty cool.

I’ve learned that calling my mom is absolutely necessary to maintain sanity. Even though we used to fight about every little thing in high school, she’s my best friend. Whether it’s asking for advice, or sharing some good news or bad, my mom is always excited to be there.

And finally, I’ve learned to be an advocate for myself. And where did I learn this? The laundry room. No. I’m not joking. Entering the laundry room in my dorm at rush hour is like entering a war zone. Trying to get a laundry machine is like reaching for the last cookie in a room full of starving people. If you see someone else waiting at the elevator with a laundry hamper you know to push all the buttons and take the stairs. You learn to be trustful of nobody or they will dump your wet clothes on the ground in a damp pile of nastiness.

In the few months I’ve been in college, I’ve learned more about myself than in the 17 years before. I know there’s so much more to learn if I open myself up to it, and I can’t wait to experience it all.