Freshmen year. It has finally come to an end. What seemed like a never-ending stretch of finals now seems so short. I am still in awe as to how fast this year has truly passed. Freshmen year was quite a whirlwind of a year. It took almost a year to learn everything about surviving and thriving my first year here at Emory.

Honestly, I am still learning new things every day: new ways to deal with situations, learning how best to study for college exams, putting myself out there, and the list can go on.

But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything else. You know you have fallen in love with a place when some things may still fall apart but you still manage to appreciate everything else a university has to offer. As I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I am done with my first year, I'd like to take a moment to offer some advice to all you incoming college first-years.

Not everything is always going to go your way.

And that's ok.

Even though our Snapchat stories, Instagram and Facebook posts may make it seem like our lives are perfect, they're not. And that's not something to be upset over. It's something to grow from. College is the one chance we have to explore and make those mistakes, and most importantly learn from them. Now, this may not happen overnight... honestly, I know for a fact that it doesn't, but making those mistakes makes us realize what we really want from this experience, and for that, I am truly grateful.

There are so many opportunities in college that it can sometimes be overwhelming, but start with a few things that you are passionate about and you'll soon figure out exactly what you want to do outside of classes.

Start somewhere. It doesn't have to be perfect from the beginning, but it is so important to make the effort and start.

Remember your values from home. College is a time where you have complete independence, but the most important thing I’ve realized is that to stay grounded, it is so important to remember what you learned from home. At the same time, college is a blank slate. Especially if you are going somewhere far where you may not know anyone, it is a time to start fresh.

Don’t be afraid to change what you’ve done in the past to become a better version of yourself.

No one knows or cares how you were in high school, so take the time to reflect on how you want others to perceive you in college and make those efforts to become the best and most candid version of yourself that you can be.

Lastly, be open to meeting new people and learning other people’s stories. In college, you will have so many interesting conversations with other people, whether that be your professor, your roommate, the girl sitting next to you in class, your Uber driver, or the dining hall staff. And cherish every single memory you make with your friends because the year goes by faster than you think. That’s all for now. Good luck and hope your college experience is nothing less than wonderful.