February 24, 2024

Everyone always says freshman year is the hardest, from the taunts of upperclassmen, friendship struggles, and adjusting to “life on your own.” I find it hard to accept that my first year is nearing its end, and I can’t believe how much I’ve grown in such a short time span. 
In high school, I was always “nerd girl,” captain of the bowling team, Valedictorian, Quiz Team…you get the drift. I was bullied and it had a major impact on my self-confidence. I was very academically driven and thought that was what college was all about. But I’ve learned so many things throughout this year otherwise. Mainly, that there’s more to this whole “college thing” than just the academics; it’s the people that make it all worthwhile.

In my first semester, I had a couple of close friends, but didn’t really feel like I belonged. I had some interpersonal issues on top of the stress that comes along with tough courses and trying to discover who you are on your own, and it got so bad that I was calling my mom every night at 2 a.m., sobbing. I seriously considered dropping out of college.

But there were four main reasons I stayed in, all involving not necessarily my courses, but the people that impacted my life: my WittSem professor, my new roommate, Cru, and The Torch.

In the fall, I had my WittSem with Professor Fitz. If you’ve ever had a class with Fitz, you’ll understand. If you haven’t, take a class with him when he returns from sabbatical. He just…inspired me, like nobody else. He was so insightful and caring, and he helped me feel like I had a home in my WittSem when I felt lost in the world.

In November, I got a new roommate. Her name is Amanda Rogus and we had met through church. I was nervous at first, rather terrified, actually, to try and adjust to living in close quarters with someone I barely knew. But by the grace of God, I’ve been led to the girl I know is going to be the maid of honor at my wedding and my best friend forever. She’s probably the only person that would put up with my obsession over my favorite band (All Time Low, anyone?), my songwriting, and journalistic rants. She’s uplifting and she makes me want to be a better person.

Cru has given me something so much deeper than the everyday struggles. Its members are some of the kindest and most dedicated people I know. To be able to gather with so many people who proudly proclaim their faith and to celebrate the glory of Christ as one has been amazing for me, and I love going to Cru every week. My faith is the most important aspect of my life, and just remembering how they welcomed me with open arms will always mean the world to me.

And, of course, The Torch. My passion for journalism has not been something a lot of people have been able to understand. Writing is my life, and I found a group of people who not only accept me as a writer, but who share in these dreams and love it as I do. I can’t imagine how my first year would have been had it not been for my editor in chief, Katie, and our supervisor, D’Arcy. Everyone on the staff continues to make me strive to be a better writer and the memories I’ve made with them show me what life’s all about.

As odd as this sounds, I feel like a completely different person. Though my love for All Time Low remains (anybody??), I’ve become a more confident and independent person. I am looking into an English major with a double minor in vocal performance and journalism, and I’ve never been more sure of my abilities as a writer, performer, and person.

There’s more to this crazy college life than just academics; it’s the people I’ll meet, the memories I’ll make, and everything that is going to happen in these four years that will forever remind me why Witt will always be home.

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