Throughout the summer before I left for college, I would mention the fact that I was going to be a freshman at the University of Connecticut and, without fail, be bombarded with "Time management, Lilli. Learn how to manage your time," or "Don't party too hard!" or "Make sure you get involved," All of these little pointers stuck with me, and I didn't realize how much they would come into play and how much of those "good lucks" I really did need.

First and foremost, I've learned that it is a lot more difficult to make friends than I had thought. I consider myself to be a very social person, and I never really have had an issue getting along with people or making new friends. But, even at a school where so many people from my own high school attend, I still am finding it not so easy to find my crowd. I'm lucky that I have some familiar faces, but I can't help but miss my best friends and family. Slowly but surely, though, I am finding people that I vibe with and can talk to. I'm learning that a new group of best friends takes time to create.

Time management is also something I did not think through before getting to school. I had always just kind of thought that theres time for work, and there's time for play. Well, the first week of school, especially before clubs and just being handed syllabi, didn't give me much of a schedule to work with, and I didn't exactly have a group of friends to hang out with, either. It gave me a lot more time to miss home and sulk in my Twin XL bed with my stuffed animals. Now that clubs are starting up and I'm making friends, things are starting to get easier, but I'm still working on finding the balance between work and play.

Lastly, partying. I have friends who are part of greek life, but I'm not really that type. I've also never been one to really party. Nevertheless, the college expectation sets in: it's college, maybe I should go out more. I have been to some party scenes since I've got here, but I've seen even more night life on my friends' social media, and I'm quickly learning that taking part in that sort of thing is in no way mandatory or seen as better than a quality night in watching a movie or doing homework. I'm sure I'll attend more parties in the duration of my college career, but I know it's not a necessity.

Overall, the level of independence college has forced me to have was overwhelming at first, and still is, but I know I'm still settling in. In the meantime, I know I'm just a freshman, and I have quite the journey ahead of me, and a lot more lessons to learn.