It was only just recently that I finished my last final, as well as my freshman year of college in itself. My grades for the semester have not be posted yet, but I already know that I have something to be proud of.
I am proud the fact that I bypassed everyone else's views and opinions and chased after this dream of mine. I am proud of the fact that I had the courage to go beyond the views, despite what it seemed to physically and emotionally entail. I recall writing a post before I left for school about my hopes and goals for the coming year; that not only did I want to survive, but I also wanted to thrive from what I experienced here. Quite honestly, that's exactly what happened.
I'm still in awe of the changes that took place within the first month and semester that I was here. Looking back to August from this particular point, I am even more amazed at the difference eight and a half months make. There are times when it doesn't feel like it because I didn't come into college with a completely romanticized view of it; I knew that I wouldn't have it all together (even though I constantly felt like I had to) and I knew that I would probably be challenged in more ways than I could fathom. Nonetheless, I know that I'm not exactly the same person, even though it hasn't been all that long.
It's tricky to pin-point what exactly those changes are, and whether or not they're for the better. I feel like I've developed more of a relaxed attitude toward certain things and I'm no longer embaressed by my quirky characteristics that I once analyzed to a T. I am more confident in who I am as a person and my abilities, and have discovered that amazing things tend to happen when you just go for something instead of going through the "what if's"
That's not to say that everything was picture perfect; there were a lot of moments, especially in these last few months that left me frustrated, as though I was slipping back into my old mindset. There were times when I became pissed off at myself just because I was feeling a little down, and there were times where I wondered is this the same stuff repeating itself? I did cry every once in awhile. But if you don't experience pain in this type of journey every so often, than you're not really living.
I'm not sure if I have a "favorite" memory of my freshman year; the thing about college is that you don't have these big events like homecoming or prom to pick from. Personally, it was a bunch of little things; watching Disney movies in the dorms, making random food runs at midnight or later, going to the nightclubs downtown, studying in my favorite coffeeshops, attending the football games...I could easily go on.
Out of all of it, the best thing was (and still is in general) the people that I met and got to know. That's the other thing; that you come across so many different people from different backgrounds, cultures, etc. and it's always interesting to find out who you're going to mesh with. Some I became close with, and some I didn't. There were those that I experienced a lot of ups and downs with. But through it all, each one of them has made a difference to me.
I'm incredibly grateful for what I've been able to learn and experience in my first year. I don't have everything figured out exactly, but the fun part is not really knowing what is going to come next. When you keep your expectations at mid-level, amazing things tend to happen. And the funny thing is that this is only the beginning of it all.