I never had high expectations or big plans for what my college experience would be. I never had a dream school or a certain college experience that I wanted. I was up for anything and was going to just go into college with an open mind. Obviously, COVID changed many plans and altered so many things about life and the college experience. As a freshman, I do not know college in any way other than with all the restrictions and changes that have been brought about because of COVID. With that being said, I think that my freshman year was a pretty exceptional one. I have gotten the opportunity to meet so many cool and interesting people, even with the culture shock of moving to NYC from the Midwest. I have found that the way I was raised was very different from many people here and that makes us different in our lifestyles and beliefs, but these differences are what make all of us unique and keeps life interesting. The one thing I really looked for in a college was that it would be far away from my hometown and NYC is definitely that. The first semester went by and I never got homesick or missed home because I was so wrapped up in everything being new and the whirlwind of being a first-semester freshman. However, the second semester brought about that homesickness and missing home, my hometown friends, and my long-distance boyfriend. With the lack of spring break, I was unable to travel home, which multiplied my homesickness. However, I was able to visit my friend’s home in Rhode Island and I have absolutely fallen in love with Providence. My new future plans include living either there or in Brooklyn. I have loved being able to explore New York, a unique experience that going to college here in NYC provides. I have found so many little places throughout the boroughs that I have just fallen in love with. Sometimes, it just really hits me that I am in college here in this huge metropolitan that I grew up dreaming about. That makes all the schoolwork and stress worth it. One thing that COVID has brought about is virtual class, which is both good and bad. I feel as though I am not learning the material and I do not think it is as effective as an in-person class. It does, however, provide freedom and free time within my schedule that going in-person takes away. It has given me more time to get out of my dorm room, off-campus, and exploring the city I’m in. Freshman year has been a whirlwind and I am grateful for all the experiences, both good and bad. Even though I am longing for summer, I am excited to be back in the fall, with fewer COVID restrictions and fewer online classes. Here’s to more exploring and appreciating the city and even more meeting people, making friends, and creating memories.