I honestly cannot believe how quickly freshman year is flying by. This first semester has been so much fun, and I have learned, changed, and grown so much. After reflecting on this chapter, I found myself feeling joyous, grateful, and refreshed after a long, difficult, but amazing semester. I thought it would be nice to share a little reflection piece on the blog. My favorite posts to write and to read are often those encapsulating memories or pieces of my life. Let’s get started.
First Semester: August
After such an amazing summer with my sister Lindsay at the beach, I was dreading the change and transition that I knew I would face going into college. I headed to Mount St. Mary’s University in mid-August, on the 18th, to move in and begin orientation weekend. To read a bit more about that, check out my orientation reflection here!
August was mostly a blur of trying to adjust to such a new life. Falling into new patterns, finding my way around (albeit, small) campus, making friends, and coping with the challenges that accompany college. I had to learn my schedule, and figure out how to be successful in the classes I was taking. Speaking of which, for those wondering, this semester I took Abnormal Psychology, General Chemistry + Lab, Honors First Year Symposium (a required course for all first-years), Honors Skills (a research methods type class), and Beginning Italian. It was definitely interesting and I was very grateful for my solid study skills and routines to get me through the first few weeks.
August meant lots of newness, basically. I attended my first college soccer game, went to see a hypnotist show that was so much fun, gained confidence and found friends. Somehow, I managed to successfully carry roughly 2039394932402030923 pounds of textbooks across campus to my dorm from the bookstore.
There were challenges, too. I was ridiculously homesick, missing my family and my dogs. Part of me questioned my ability to succeed, which I now smile about considering how well the semester went.
I joined the school newspaper, the Mountain Echo. Receiving support from my friends and family back home made me feel stronger and find my footing at school. Late night study dates in the cafe and the library and the classrooms of the Academic Center became my new normal. People were kind, and some people caused trouble, and I learned how to be receptive and handle both. I stayed up late but managed to pretty much get enough sleep every night, surprisingly enough! (No, your girl will never purposefully take an 8am. No, no, no.)
I attended convocation, an opening ceremony and mass that is really beautiful. I’m glad I went. My FitBit got used (to the point it broke!) and I was hitting 14,000 steps a day. I discovered some favorite study spots, had breakfast dates, and found a renewed love for cinnamon rolls and apple juice. Overall, August was lovely.
First Semester: September
September started off really fun. My school’s campus activities program is really good, and they hold these awesome bingo games. Seriously-you have to get in line hours before they start if you plan to even get in. I went on a lunch date with my roommate and we indulged in some delicious Mexican food. My family came to visit and we had a really nice afternoon. I published my first newspaper article, about the activities fair on campus.
I faced a little bit of drama during September, but I got through it and I feel stronger because of it. Sometimes, we need a little darkness to remind us how to be joyous and to be cautious about those we surround ourselves with.
I took, and aced, my first big abnormal psychology exam. It was so exciting. I became closer with one of my best friends, Dustin. I went on dinner dates and became more confident in going off campus. Another challenge was learning to say no and to sometimes prioritize myself. Some people are prone to becoming your friend only for their gain, and it’s okay to turn those people away. Surrounding myself with positive, joyful people made me a much happier person in turn. I explored Downtown Frederick for the first time.
I studied really hard during September, but I knew that would only intensify as the semester progressed. One night, some friends and I studied outside late into the night and it was so nice, the warm summer breeze and laughter filling the air as we worked on papers and projects.
At the end of September, I headed to Georgetown with some friends (there’s a whole post about that here!) While in Georgetown, I spent a lot of time reflecting on the month. I could sense that I already had grown and changed as a person. That knowledge was really a beautiful thing to have, and I vowed to become more open to opportunities as the semester progressed.
First Semester: October
October brought Fall Break! I got to go home and spend time with my family, relax, visit my internship (Ah! So fun!) and more.
I spent a day in Hunt Valley, a really lovely shopping center, with my grandmother. We ate at California Pizza Kitchen, one of my favorites, and then shopped, especially at Greetings and Readings.
After I came back to school, I got to go to a late night corn maze with my friends. Of course, we headed to QuickWay first, a staple of our diets in the form of hibachi. The corn maze was so much fun. Afterwards, we drank hot chocolates, enjoyed a bonfire, and wandered the other fun activities the farm had to offer.
I went on a fun dinner and shopping adventure to IHOP with Dustin. Special Olympics Maryland held their Fall Sports Fest at the Mount, which I volunteered happily for. It’s an organization so near and dear to my heart, and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday! Afterwards, I got dressed up and headed to an alumni banquet to interview people for my ENJ article.
My family came to visit, and we explored this antiques market called Chartreuse and Co. in Frederick. I had a little fall photoshoot with my friends Dustin and Kayla, and we played in the leaves and shot some cool photos in between classes.
I headed to the beach with my family for a weekend, and I cannot tell you how refreshing it was. My soul feels 100% at peace there, and being near the ocean settles my whole frame of mind and allows me to really refocus after the trip.
Halloween came, and I, my roommate Cindy, and Dustin headed to Buffalo Wild Wings as our Halloween celebration.
First Semester: General Thoughts
I’m not going to write about November or December in this blog post. November already has its own post, and I’m almost finished writing one for December as well, since so much has gone on this month.
I am so grateful for the opportunities I had during this first semester. Academically, socially, mentally, physically, and emotionally, I have grown and learned how to be myself entirely. I’m proud of what I have learned and what I have accomplished.
Overall, I learned to be open to change, be free to be my authentic self all the time, and to take time to do what I love.
I hope that your fall semester, or fall in general, was really amazing and blessed. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey!