The first year of college can be perfectly described in the simple terms of feeling nervous yet excited. There is a roller coaster of emotions, peaks, and lows. You feel free and independent at times, but at others, you want to go home to your mom's home-cooked meal and have her tell you that everything will be okay. You love the fact that the whole year is an enormous social event, but regret at times that you will never actually have your own personal space. And of course, the worst of the worst, the conflict of both failure and success.

I will never forget the feeling of first walking into my dorm room on move-in day. I opened the door, feeling adrenalized and nauseous; I left thinking that there was no way I was going to fit in this little room while sharing it with two other people. Yet, I still was so excited and hopeful for the adult life ahead. Feeling like the most grown-up version of myself, I said goodbye to my parents.

As I settled in, I realized that I would never be woken up again by my mother to go to school or have my dad cook me scrambled eggs in the morning. That was replaced by me trying my hardest to get up for my 10 AM classes and go straight to the dining hall for breakfast.

However, I quickly adapted to dorm life here at Stony. It was so much fun running late at night to get dinner with my friends. I love wandering around on campus when it's empty at the end of the day, going to the recreation center, getting bubble tea, and even watching basketball games with my friends on Saturday nights. I love the social life college provides you with. Being at home doesn't really give me these opportunities, because I still have a curfew and I don't live with my friends. I knew, at the beginning of my first year, that college would bring me a sense of independence. And I was so right about that.

Although there were numerous slumps and peaks in my first year, I learned that the prestige and ranking of your college does not impact your college experience, but rather the people you surround yourself with. Struggling through classes pertinent to your major and difficult ones is less painful with others to struggle alongside you. I will miss movie nights and ordering Dominos at 1 AM. Although I will not miss pulling all-nighters to study, I will miss the view of the sunrise over Tabler Quad.

I am really happy and ecstatic to be home from school after a long year, but I now find myself just as homesick as I was at the beginning of the school year. Though, I now miss my home away from home — I miss Stony Brook.