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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

By the time this article is published, I will have completed not only my Junior year, but my first year ever here at Chico State. Lucky me, I only have one in person final. Future Zoey, I hope it feels good to be finished with everything because it’s a little stressful. But that’s ok, that’s what college is about. College isn’t supposed to be an easy ride. It’s supposed to be filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. And honestly, that’s the best part. Learning new things, whether it be in class, about others, or even about yourself is one of the greatest things you can do in school, and I know I did plenty of that. This year has welcomed me with so many new surprises that I couldn’t be more thankful for, and I really wish that I could put my own pictures in here so you can see all of the amazing things I’m going to tell you about. Also, this is going to be long, but that’s how you know it’s going to be filled with good memories.

So, let’s set the scene. August 16th, 2023; the day I moved in to Chico. I was scared, anxious, excited, pretty much any emotion you could think of. I already knew my super sexy roommate Makenna (she would want me to say that, and it’s true) and I would be friends, so that isn’t really what I was nervous about. Mostly, I just feared being away from my family. My parents, my Grammy, my siblings, and even my dog Nessie are all some of my favorite people to be around. I knew it was going to be tough not having them around 24/7, but lucky for me my hometown best friend Hannah had also transferred to Chico, so I knew I would be in good company.

After my parents leave, I realize I’m truly on my own. I live without my family for the first time ever, how scary! Makenna and I bonded quick, a bond I know can never be broken. Soon, it was time for the first day of school. My first day of what felt like REAL college!! Ever! How exciting but nerve wracking. My first class was theatre…should be easy enough. I remember walking in and seeing everyone and feeling immediately overwhelmed. To be honest, I don’t remember much about my first few days of school besides deciding I needed to make some friends. I’m not the best at making friends, but I decided to give my best attempt. Won’t lie, I felt like a hunter stalking my prey. I decided to talk to this one girl who I saw wearing a Taylor Swift shirt. I decided to sit next to her in our next class, and we instantly hit it off. She’s now one of my closest friends, so shoutout to Jenna who now gets to deal with me every day and somehow likes me enough to have every class with me next semester. Thank you, Taylor Swift, for giving me the courage to talk to one of my now best friends.

The other big thing I did was join my first ever college club. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this recommended page. I clicked on it and saw that the deadline to apply was that night, so I quickly sent in an application. And let me just say… best decision ever. That club ended up being Her Campus, a community I thank every day for. Little did I know that this was a brand new club and I was now an original member, which is so cool. I met so many cool people, made new friends, and wrote so many articles! This was an opportunity I would’ve never had if I hadn’t been randomly scrolling through Instagram instead of doing my homework, so I’m so thankful that I got to join this amazing club and now even hold a position on the Exec board! That’s right, I’m now the official Senior Editor for Her Campus. How lucky I am to hold such an amazing position in one of my favorite things ever.

Semester one was such a learning curve, having to navigate new classes, making friends, and just figuring out how to live on my own. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Over winter break, I had surgery so I was feeling kind of nervous to go back to school. Little did I know, my second semester would hold even better things than my first.

Paramount Pictures

My first day of school was unfortunately canceled due to the strike. So, my second day of school was actually my first. Walking in, I knew Jenna would be in my music class (as well as almost every other class) but I saw some others that I had recognized from my theatre class last semester. I didn’t know them very well at the time, but it was nice to see some familiar faces. Now, I get to bother my good friends Meghan, Ivan, Grace, and Skyler nearly every day. While I annoy them every day in our group chat, asking them random questions such as if they have any special talents or if they know how to do a handstand, I’m extremely thankful for them for putting up with me and feel very lucky that these once familiar faces turned into my friends. Sorry I keep singing and laughing in class you guys, just know I appreciate all of you. I’m literally sitting at a table with them right now as I write this, and I’m so happy to have made such good friends. I made them all take a selfie with me, and I really wish I was able to upload it right now.

Nearing the end of the first week of school was a big event; my 21st birthday. The only sucky thing, however, was I was the only one of my friends to be 21. I’m usually the oldest, but this birthday especially sucked because it meant I had no one to go to the bars with. We made the best of it, though, as Makenna, Hannah, and I all still went out and had a great time. So now I’m 21, feeling old and wise.

The next week (my first 2 weeks were super busy), I had made a very scary choice. I decided to do COB for Gamma Phi Beta, which was only scary because I knew they were only taking a handful of people. I went in super nervous, but it ended up being such a great and easy experience that any nerves I had were immediately lifted. I felt so at home and was so thrilled when they called me and offered me a bid! Since then, I’ve met so many amazing girls and made such good friends that I know will last a lifetime. I also got the most fantastic fam ever, my twin Alexa, my big Megan, and my G-big Rachel (come home, we miss you!). My fam feels like home, and I know I can always count on them and gossip with them anytime I need. What once felt like a nerve wracking experience turned into something so perfect, and I couldn’t be happier.

Another thing I did this semester was I got not 1, not 2, but 3 new jobs! I work as a dance fit instructor at the WREC, at the Well front desk, and as a sub for an after school program. I’ve made so many good memories with all 3 jobs already, even in such a short amount of time. I feel so lucky to be able to juggle three awesome jobs while still being able to live my life, which I know can be a struggle so I do feel truly grateful.

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / 20th Century Studios

Junior year has held so many great memories, experiences, and friends. I will forever be thankful for the things I learned during my first semester here at Chico, as there was so much more I could’ve written about but then this article would’ve gone on for pages. As I’m writing this, I just finished my last day of school. I can’t wait to see what my last year of school has in store for me. HAGS everyone!

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” -Winnie the Pooh

Zoey Dennis

Cal State Chico '25

Zoey is a Senior here at Chico State! She is a Liberal Studies major who would love to teach high school history. She has always loved writing and teaching, and Her Campus is such a great outlet! In her free time, she loves to go out with her friends, spend time with family, listen to music, and enjoys exploring Chico.