Reflecting on My Freshman Year

As my first year attending college comes to a close, I have a ton of new experiences to reflect on as I prepare for my needed time at home over the course of summer.

College has definitely shown me what it means to have high and low points, and even experience them in a matter of 24 hours. Some weeks, I felt on top of the world, yet others I felt like I was hitting rock bottom. However, all of those experiences shaped my first-year college experience and motivated me to stay on top of my game.

There is so much to say about even just one year of college, but specifically, there are three points that defined my freshman year: friends, finding my niche, and growing up. I’m sure others could relate to the daunting task of being away from home for the first time, but these three ideas were consistently apparent in my first year at TCNJ.

My friends shaped my experiences and memories consistently throughout my first year away from home. My floormates quickly became my second family, and it pains me to think we will be in different dorm buildings in the Fall semester. A 10-minute walk seems like miles away when the “norm” for meeting friends is right down the hall. I cannot stress the importance of making friends in your classes, major, etc. With difficult classes in my major, I consistently leaned on my friends in my classes for support. By finding friends in my classes, I was able to stay on top of work and complete work to the best of my ability. Of course, it is always awkward to talk to the person the first day of class, but it helped me in the long run, and I highly suggest it. My friends and I share an unbreakable bond; without them, my first year away would have been extremely difficult.

It sounds cliche, but breaking out of my comfort zone was one of the biggest factors attributing to my success during freshman year. I joined a sports team, women’s rugby, that completely changed my life. I found a group of strong and empowering women that motivated me to not only become a better teammate, but a better person. I never thought I would enjoy rugby until I attended the first practice and fell in love. If I had chosen to remain in my comfort zone, I likely would not be as happy or diligent with my work.

I also started writing for an amazing chapter of Her Campus. Writing has always been a passion of mine, so joining this chapter enhanced my abilities and allowed me to become a published writer. Therefore, it is encouraged to break out of your comfort zone, but don’t be afraid to start with something you are comfortable with. I was utterly surprised what I was capable of. I was able to find my niche and leave a small mark on the TCNJ campus.

The most important factor influencing my first year of college experience was growing up. As much as I like to think I am still a kid, I have matured and become an adult in more ways than I could imagine. My parents were not consistently around to remind me to complete homework, do my laundry, or eat dinner. I learned to hold myself accountable in hard situations. Waking up for 8:00 am classes is so difficult, yet I managed not to miss a single class. The first year of college gave me a taste of what the rest of my life could potentially look like, and I definitely attribute my success in becoming an adult.

As much as my first year of college was filled with endless laughs and memories, it was also a wake up call. This was the moment that my life as a professional started. Without these three attributes, it is highly unlikely that I would remain as successful and happy as I am today. With hard work, perseverance, and a good support system anything is possible.  

Shout out to my amazing parents for giving me these wonderful opportunities. XOXO!