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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 UNH chapter.

Dear September, 

My first September at UNH was one of the best things that I think I will ever experience. 

I entered and left my freshman year at the age of 17, and that year alone altered my life. Not just in my various experiences, like seeing that one boy at 3 a.m. or having a little too much fun on “Frat Row,” but in finding my place in a new environment. Your freshman year is when you can be selfish; you can go out whenever you want, be friends with whoever you choose and decide whether or not to go to that dreaded 8 a.m. on a Tuesday. Your freshman year is when you break out of your shell — when slipping down a hill outside of Paul College becomes a fond memory as you die of laughter with your best friend and pulling an all-nighter with a friend to study for your math final somehow makes you closer to them as you share hysterics and delirium. You find yourself missing home more or, dependent on your past, you find home in other people.  

In short, I finally found myself and who I was, not who other people made me out to be. 

Once you enter sophomore year — that second September — you feel a noticeable difference. Suddenly, you’re enjoying your classes a lot more. The fact that I’m excited to sit and learn about accounting for over an hour is somehow much better than a “Thirsty Thursday.” Suddenly, I would much rather stay in my bed and turn on a movie on a Saturday night. Suddenly, I fell back into my now-wanted shell, and I finally felt older.  

This second September has been one of the hardest months of my life; physically exhausted after forcing myself to stay up for hours studying for one little quiz; mentally pushing myself to get through all these assignments; making sure my body is in shape and I’m eating healthily; prioritizing my current and future career; socially, with seemingly never-ending drama that persists no matter how long I lock myself in a study room. And as hard as this month has been, as much as I just wanted to go home and ignore everything, September has once again been life-altering and in some way, for the better. 

In short, I developed a new sense of empathy for people and for myself. 

You do not need to lift the heaviest weights, be the happiest person or get the highest grades to be strong. Strength is allowing yourself to feel and picking yourself up after. Not for anyone else, but for you. 

It’s letting yourself sit in your emotions. You’re not being dramatic; you’re feeling exactly what you want to. And, if no one has ever allowed you to be, give yourself the chance to be sad and to feel everything. Feeling is a part of life, and it makes you human. 

You are so strong for getting up every day and just going to class and doing your assignments. You are so strong for willing up the courage to talk to that person you sit next to. You’re strong for just showing up. 

So, to September, thank you for showing me how to feel, sitting in my thoughts with a heavy heart. 

Find where you’re happiest, whether it’s out with your friends or if it’s curled up with a good book on a loud Friday night. And don’t let anyone shame you for either. 

Make your body your home, as hard as it may be, be kind to yourself, be kind to others and, please, study for that one dumb exam. 

Alexis is a current sophomore studying for a major in Accounting while simultaneously pursuing her MSA. Originally from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Alexis has grown up loving to write, keeping a poetry journal from a young age. Now, Alexis takes her position in HerCampus as an opportunity to express herself as she navigates the classic college experience.