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What My Freshman Year Taught Me

9 months filled with

Endless late nights

Numerous group projects

Too many essays to count

And a bit too much procrastination,

But as of 5 days ago

I finished my freshman year of college

It seems just like yesterday I was applying for colleges, getting my acceptance letter, and deciding where I was going to be spending the next four years of my life. But as I was taking down my decorations, and saying goodbye to my friends, I realized it was all a year ago, that the next step I was both looking forward to eagerly and with a few doubts was done. And when I looked back, I realized I wasn’t the same person that drove up the PCH with her mom and a car way to packed to be legal.

But that’s okay.

You’re supposed to learn and grow, and yes change, but change and grow into more of who you are. I learned a lot over the last year, I better have after taking nine classes including an 8 am on Mondays, but I learned a lot outside of the classroom too.

I learned that you can have goals and plans and ideas, but you can’t cling to them. Let them guide you, but if they don’t happen that’s ok. Whether they were plans to double major or go to an event, it’s ok. Something will work itself out, and I hate hearing this, but sometimes for the better. I came to college thinking I was going to double major in Public Relations and Creative Writing, spend a year abroad, join a sorority, and go on adventures every single weekend. But reality didn’t agree, I had to prioritize. Now I’m an unaffiliated Public Relations major, Creative Writing minor, who’s going to spend her sophomore year abroad in London and didn’t tear up the town every weekend (which my wallet really appreciated).

I found that while grades are important, they don’t define you, and it’s okay to put yourself first even if that means you don’t cram in an extra hour of studying. Sometimes things don’t work out, and you don’t do so well on that test you thought you had studied enough for, but beating yourself up over it won’t change everything. And I didn’t get that at first, it still takes me a couple hours after a big test to remember that I did try my best and to not stress myself into an early grave.

I also learned that how you start the year is not how you’re going to end it. You might join a club thinking it will have all your attention and later discover a different passion that you decided to pursue. You can start with a group of friends that you think will be with you forever, and a couple months later not even know if they’re still at school, it doesn’t make you a bad person. People drift or don’t have enough common ground to keep a new friendship going, but so long as everyone is happy its ok. And sometimes not everyone is going to be happy, sometimes friendships break or you realize you don’t want a friendship with that person, and that’s okay too. Just don’t be nasty to each other, that’s not good for anyone. ,

I think the most important thing I learned, however, was balance and not just between social, academics, and work (sleep too), but between past, present, and future. It’s okay to be nostalgic and attached to your past, it’s okay not to think about the past or the future and enjoy the now, and it’s okay to dream about what’s to come and how you can get there. You just have to spend the right amount of time in each and you’ll be golden.

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