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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Alabama chapter.

I came from a small-ish school (a graduating class of a whopping 177 students) up north. I was a big fish in a little pond: class president all four years, yearbook editor, varsity volleyball captain, and band section leader. I even sat on a school board and was the voice for the student body. I had a hand in almost everything those four years, and going to a large university where I knew absolutely no one terrified me.


I had envisioned the typical college experience; tailgating at football games, going out all the time, being involved, and essentially having it all. I arrived four years ago with a good head on my shoulders, but I still was not completely sure of who I was or what I wanted to become.


I joined the band. It forced me to socialize with other people in addition to my roommates. I made friends this way. I went to my classes and enjoyed them. Still unsure of what I wanted, I set out to try and join clubs, because that’s all I did in high school and keeping busy made me happy. It felt like I was actually contributing something and that I had a purpose. Yet through that first year on campus, I still felt a little lost.


Four years later, I’ve changed so much. I’m much wiser than I was freshman year and even more driven. I’ve spent hundreds of hours marching on that band field, many long nights in the Capstone Agency tank, and probably more nights in watching movies with friends than actually going out. Although I’m not entirely sure of what my life’s purpose is, this university and the clubs that have become part of who I am have given me an incredible foundation. I’ve gotten to know the most amazing, driven people who have motivated me to be the best person I could be.


I would never have gotten the amazing opportunities that I’ve been so fortunate to have had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone. That is something that I see too often around a good percentage of campus – people are content enough with their lives that they don’t strive to move up, assert themselves, reach for bigger opportunities and grow as humans. College can be a comfortable bubble where you surround yourself with your friends, your routines and opinions that match your own. I’m here to challenge you to step outside of this and meet people who are different than you. My four years had not matched my original plan of what I had expected, but I’m so thankful for that.


I’m thankful for the Million Dollar Band (as long as those days and trips were), the 2015 Avanti team, Sigma Alpha Iota, Capstone Agency, the C&IS Ambassadors, and my Her Campus ladies. I’m thankful for the professors and mentors who saw my potential even when I didn’t. I’m thankful for the incredible people I’ve been lucky enough to call my friends; those who helped me reach my fullest potential and have encouraged me to be the best person I could possibly be. These past four years would not have been the same without you.


Bryana is a senior at The University of Alabama double-majoring in public relations and communication studies from Boston, Mass. She loves photography, finding new songs to jam out to and creating Snapchat geofilters for fun. When Bryana isn't avidly color-coding her planner, you can either find her raving over her most recent abroad experience in London or out on the band field marching with the Million Dollar Band. Follow Bryana on Twitter and Instagram @bryanak13.
My name is Reilly and I am a rising junior at the University of Alabama double majoring in Political Science and American Studies with a minor in Public Relations. I hope to get involved in politics after school and then attend law school. In my free time, I love to binge watch Netflix shows, go to the beach and hangout with my friends.