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Two years. It’s been two years since I graduated high school and moved to Nashville for college. Looking back on who I was then compared to who I am now, it’s like a completely different person is writing this. At the start of freshman year, I was still struggling with my mental health; I was shy and unsure of what I was doing at Belmont. Two years later, I still struggle with those things, but I have grown as a person, a student, a daughter, and a friend. So much has happened, and I am actually looking forward to what comes next.

At the beginning of this year, I was living with the same roommate as I was spring of freshman year. She has become one of my best friends, and I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn't met her. In addition to living with her, I also had suitemates for the first time. Because of my anxiety, I was nervous about what it would be like to, essentially, live with two strangers. Despite all of the horror stories I had heard from other people about their suitemates, God blessed me with two wonderful and amazing girls. Not only were they great to share a bathroom with, they were so much fun to be around. I literally, could not have asked for better people! They brought so much love and kindness into my life, and I have nothing but gratitude for them.

I also have a new addition to my life. In November, I adopted a cat that I named Luna. After much thought, prayer, and searching, I decided to get an Emotional Support Animal. When I first started therapy to cope with my anxiety and depression, my psychologist recommended that I look into getting an ESA. Up until late last year, I just wasn't ready to take on that responsibility, but when my roommate decided to study abroad this Spring in Manchester, England, I knew that I needed a furry friend to keep me company. I went to several animal shelters and found so many wonderful pets that needed a home, but when I met Luna, who was rescued by the Nashville Cat Rescue, I knew she was the animal that I needed. Despite her antics, she is one of the best decisions I have ever made. She has made my life so much brighter.

One of the best things about this semester is that I have been reaffirmed about my purpose here at Belmont. I fall more in love with publishing all the time. Much of this is due to my advisor, and head of the publishing program, at Belmont. His knowledge and dedication have pushed me to do my best and to pursue publishing as a lifelong career. This made his retirement even more bittersweet. I have so much gratitude and admiration for him and what he has done for the publishing program at Belmont. I will miss his guidance and insight during the next two years.

This has been one of the best semesters for me thus far in college. I have made new friendships, strengthened old ones, and found a deeper faith in God. I have so much love and support at home, but I am finally realizing that I have it here too. I couldn't be more thankful for my friends, including the ones I didn’t mention here; You know who you are. They make me excited to come back to Belmont. They motivate me to be better every day. I cannot wait for the next two years because I know they will be full of surprises and adventures.

Sophomore year? EL FIN. 

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Ashley Harris

Belmont '20

Ashley Harris is currently a Junior at Belmont Univerity, hailing from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She is majoring in Publishing with a minor in English Writing. She hopes to end up working at a publishing house in NYC, publishing books for children and young adults. She has an affinity for the Christmas/Holiday season, punk rock music, and cool tattoos. You can find her in the nearest bookstore or petting the nearest dog. She also has an ESA resuce cat named Luna!
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