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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

In middle school, I was sitting in the car with my mom, telling her about this guy I liked. I felt like I had these strong feelings where it felt like it was love. She looked me in the eye and said, “You don’t know what love is.” It may have sounded harsh at the time, but she had a point. I didn’t know what love was. But fast forward to me being 18 years old, about to finish my first year of college. I finally realized what love is and it’s not for the reasoning you think.  

First, let me tell you what love is. This may not be a set definition of what love means or what it is, but this is how I interpret it based on experience. Love is not something you claim with words but something you feel deep within yourself. The first time I experienced this was not with a person but with a place. It was when I found a place I would call my second home: St. Bonaventure University.  

When I was a junior in high school, I decided to start touring colleges to see which one would be the best fit for me. As soon as I stepped out of the car and walked onto the campus, I felt something. I couldn’t explain at first what it was, but I knew that I was meant to be here. I knew I would spend the next four years here and enjoy it.  

Another thing I have fallen in love with is the people. At the beginning of my first year of college, I was extremely nervous I was not going to make friends there. But now, I have met so many amazing people on this campus. There are two people specifically that have stuck by me throughout these past two semesters that I have been in contact with since orientation, and although I will not mention them by name, they know who they are. Even though I have only known them for a few months, they have changed my life in so many ways and for that, I am so grateful to them.  

One of the major things that also impacted me was being part of my Her Campus chapter. Due to school and having a job, I haven’t had the time to write for my own pleasure, but Her Campus helped me rekindle my relationship with writing. Not only that, but the bond that I share with my fellow student writers is something that I am glad that I have and will continue to experience.  

If I were to go back in time and talk to middle school Olivia, the one thing that I would tell her is that you may not understand what love is at that moment, but you will eventually, and it is not by having crushes on guys not worth your time. You will find love not with a certain someone, but within the world around you and within yourself.  

Olivia Francis is a first-year member of the Her Campus at SBU chapter. She oversees the site’s culture, entertainment, and wellness verticals on the site, including mental health, relationships, TV shows, and movie coverage. Olivia is currently a first-year student majoring in Communications, Social Justice & Advocacy at St. Bonaventure University. Beyond Her Campus, Olivia has been published in many anthropologies over the years through an organization called Young Writers. In her free time, Olivia enjoys writing poetry and short stories, along with taking walks while listening to her favorite music genres on Spotify such as Pop or R&B. One of her goals is to travel the world someday and explore new foods and customs. An interesting fact about Olivia is she is not only the first college gen student but, she is the first female in her family to go for a higher education.