I never used to get excited about change, especially when it affected me directly. I was not too thrilled to come to college, to say the least. I liked my life at home; I have amazing parents, I had good friends and a good boyfriend who I always enjoyed spending time with, I did well in high school and overall would have been complacent staying where I was in life. I had an inkling that there was certainly more to life, but I was too scared to want to risk losing what I had.
Leaving home that last weekend of August was brutal. All my friends had scattered across the country to start their new lives, and I was packing up my childhood room, preparing myself to live elsewhere for the first time in my life. I did not want to give up home cooked meals, or my queen-sized bed, or just having my own room.
College was a lot different than I expected it to be. The classes were harder and moved at a much quicker pace- and the professors would not slow down for anyone, especially in large lectures. My first class was in Laurel 102, and I’m pretty sure there were the same number of people in that one class as there was in half of my high school. The sheer volume of people on campus terrified me. And the fact that I knew practically no one made it so much worse.
After the first week I was homesick, exhausted and overall, not feeling the whole college experience. I was over it. I wanted my old life back, but my roommate convinced me to go out with her and some girls she had become friendly with on our floor. It was my first time ever going to a party and I had a BLAST. The girls were so kind to me and we had so much fun, regardless of barely knowing each other. Two of them are now my closest friends in the world- I can’t imagine my life without them.
Over the course of that semester, I began to get the hang of college. I found my groove academically, and started to catch up with the pace of my classes. I went to the involvement fair, and joined a couple clubs. I connected with girls on my floor and found myself doing things that I never would have done in high school, such as running for an exec position in a club, and going to different parties to try and meet new people. I even rushed a sorority. Though I didn’t follow through with Greek life, the whole process certainly taught me a lot about being comfortable talking about myself and getting to know people in short amounts of time. I even made some pretty good friends during the rush process.
I never realized, though, just how much I had changed, and how much I really loved UConn, until this semester. Looking back at my freshman year, I am so thankful for every opportunity this school presented me with. I have discovered passions I never knew I had thanks to the innumerable clubs UConn has. I never thought that I would enjoy writing, but I have loved writing for Her Campus, and cannot wait to author more articles next year.
I have also met people who I can’t fathom not having known a year ago. I will never forget the late night talks, getting to know my roommate those first few weeks of school, or the nights stumbling home from frats and heading to Insomnia Cookies while trying to recount what happened that night. The friends that I have made here have seen me at my best and worst already, and I know that I can always count on them. They have taught me to accept myself and be myself unforgivingly. They have pushed me to try new things and always go out of my comfort zone, and I could never thank them enough.
With everything that UConn has taught me this year, I can safely say that I am not the same person I was when I first came up to Storrs in August. That girl would have never ran for leadership positions in organizations. She would have never signed up for a spring break trip with a bunch of people she didn’t know. She would have never written a letter professing her love for her school and posted it freely on the web. She would have never had the guts to apply for a study abroad opportunity and actually have every intention of going.
I have become a smarter, more independent, strong and outgoing person, and it is all thanks to UConn.
As my first year comes to a close, I don’t know why I was ever scared of change, of taking a leap into the unknown. Taking risks has led to amazing things in my life coming to fruition, and more joy than I ever thought I could know.
I am very excited to see what Storrs has instore for me over the next three years.
A very grateful freshman