So almost exactly a month ago, I wrapped up my freshman year of college at BYU. It was many things, but one of the best words I can use to describe it is new. New friends, new school, new classes, new home, new sense of independence.
When classes started last August, I only knew a handful of people from high school that would also be attending at BYU. My roommate was a stranger from California, and I had no idea what to expect. One of my closest friends was living down the hall from me, but we had decided it would be best not to room together so that we could meet new people (and not drive each other crazy.)
By the end of orientation weekend, I had already met most of the people I would stay close friends with throughout the duration of the year. I quickly bonded with some of the girls that lived on my end of the hall, and we stuck together as none of us really knew a whole lot of other people. Lucky for me, these girls turned out to be some of my all time favorite people. Each one very unique from the other, with very different life experiences.
If you know anything about the culture at BYU, you’re probably thinking “How different could they be? It’s BYU!” But for a group of 7 18-year-old mormon girls, we were all very different. Our close-knit group of friends came from all over the country, and from all different kinds family backgrounds.
College is hard. Especially your first semester when everything is so new and you are still trying to figure things out. Most of my friends were far from home, and sometimes that was difficult for them. Throughout our new experiences together, we began to think of each other as adopted family. There were many times I remember offering my shoulder to cry on, spending hours talking through difficulties, and darting into a dorm room at 3 am to check up on someone. The same was done for me more times than I can remember.
One of the best things about living in a dorm is that if you’re lucky, you end up living 2 seconds away from your best friends. I was best friends with my roommate, the girl across the hall, the girls that were across the hall and a door down, and two girls who lived on the floor above me. It was hectic and busy and sometimes overwhelming, but I miss it more than anything.
From an academic perspective, I feel like I grew a lot this past year! I forced myself to work harder and challenge myself more than I ever had in the past. I learned a lot about history, writing, and how to properly cram for tests(lol.) I gained a better idea of what my school/social life balance should look like.
This past year taught me a lot about who I am, and who I want to be. I think a lot of this derived from the sense of independence I developed while living away from home. When you’re used to having someone over your shoulder nagging you to do what you need to do 24/7, living on your own is definitely an adjustment. I think I developed a greater sense of self-worth as I took on more responsibilities. This was beneficial in the way that it motivated me to want to be better, and consequently make better life decisions. I learned that everything is better when you are constantly working towards something. Having purpose in your work makes whatever you are doing so much more bearable!
I could go on forever about all of the things that I learned this year but I think I’ve come to a good stopping place for now.
RIP freshman year. I will cherish you forever.