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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 Tampa chapter.

As the 2023-2024 school year comes to a wrap in just a little over a week, here is why these last two semesters have been the most valuable to my college career and life in general. 

There have been both ups and downs, but overall, I have had the most impactful year of my life. 

Starting off with the fall semester of 2023, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Sydney, Australia. This was an experience that truly impacted my life. 

I learned so many life lessons, from being more independent to building more valuable friendships and just seeing the world from a new perspective. 

Being immersed in a different culture with no one familiar is not for the weak. I went to Australia knowing nobody, but leaving with so many high value friendships. 

I was experiencing new things everyday and was immersing myself in the culture as much as I could. I left Australia knowing so much more about the world and myself. 

The ease I felt in Australia was unlike no other. I realized what I value in friendships and what I needed to do in order to be the best person I could be. 

From meeting locals to other study-abroad students, I quickly left anxiety behind and was able to live my life to the fullest. I cannot even express in words how much of a different person I felt when I left Australia versus when I first landed. 

Having a dream for almost all your life and finally being able to fulfill it is a reward in itself, but the lessons and friendships you make on that journey are what will stick with you forever. 

Taking it back domestically to the United States, this is my second to last semester of college, and looking back to freshman year there has been so much growth. 

The amount of maturing I have done since being a freshman is insane. 

This semester has made me value my friendships even more, and living off-campus has brought a whole new perspective to my collegiate years. 

This spring, I have had more of a career focus and have had to put a lot of things in motion. My coursework continues to get harder and more valuable, and there is a more career outlook on my remaining college time. 

I have had to create a portfolio, a PR campaign and apply for internships to try and set me on the best foot when leaving UT in December. 

It is finally hitting that college is almost over for me, but oh, how things have changed. For example, I came to UT as a marine biology major, but now I am a journalism major. 

We learn so many things over our collegiate years, but this has been the year when I realized how much I have to offer a future company. 

The career aspect of college has never been more prevalent, but it has made me a more mature person and realize what I need to do these next months in order to get a career in whatever I decide. 

With all of the experiences I have had over the past year, I have walked away from the 2023-2024 school year having learned so many valuable lessons not only in college but in life as well. 

Payton Buschhorn is a journalism major at The University of Tampa and an editor for Her Campus at Tampa. She enjoys writing about her travels as well as the sports world. Outside Her Campus, Payton is a senior journalism major and a public relations minor at UT. She is currently a staff writer on The Minaret, which is UT's school paper. At The Minaret, she often wrote opinion pieces as well as entertainment stories. She has written countless stories in different genres in the numerous classes she's taken while at university. Payton loves to travel and even studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. In her free time she enjoys going to Davis Island where she likes to sit by the water and watch the planes and sailboats. When she's not at school or with her friends, she loves to watch sports, specifically hockey and Formula 1. She hopes to get into sports or travel journalism when she graduates and this is one step towards her achieving her goal.