How College Changed Me

By Alisha, age 22, Massachusetts

College life is great, but the first year can be a challenging one. Trying to make new friends, getting used to the class schedule and the professors - it might be scary at first, but if you just stay focused, everything will work out in the end. College is not all about the parties, it is about preparing yourself for the realities that you will face in the work world in the future. It is a time to make mistakes, make your own decisions, fall in love, and just have fun. College, whether you go for two or four years, in some way or another, will make you a stronger person. The lessons you will learn both in and out of the classroom will build not only your knowledge base but also your self-confidence.

College is a time to step or even leap outside of your comfort zone, to explore who you are as a person and to explore the millions of new possibilities that will await you. College is a time to figure out who you are and what it is you want to do when college is over. College is a time to decipher the world around you, to make connections with others, and find your true self. College is the most exhilarating time of your life, so grab hold of these next four years and hang on for the ride. College is an experience, an opportunity, not everyone gets to take. Not only is college an experience, it is a life lesson. It is a time to be independent and a time to find your individuality. My college years have been nothing but an interesting ride and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

My freshman year, I struggled quite a bit. Only knowing a handful of people and being as shy as I am, making new friends and breaking out of my comfort zone was challenging. Not only was it hard for me to make new friends and break out of my comfort zone, it was hard to be away from home, away from family and friends. A different atmosphere, a scary transition at first, but as the semester went on, it became easier for me. Becoming more confident in myself, I started making new friends and doing okay in all of my classes. But somehow that still seemed like it was not enough.

I struggled in the classroom and my grades showed this in the end. When the first semester of my freshman year ended, grades were then posted. C's and D's were the only grades I would receive that semester. After receiving those grades, mixed feelings went through my mind. I thought about dropping out.

But something about that just didn't sit right with me. So, the next semester, the last semester of my freshman year, I returned to school. The second semester seemed to be easier than the first. I finally had some new friends, making life at college and being away from home that much easier. I was enjoying school more and my classes were easier. By the time grades were out, those D's from the semester before had turned into B's.

After struggling freshman year, then having a new set of friends, and finally being comfortable with the classes and the professors, going back as a sophomore was an easy choice to make. Knowing I actually had something to look forward to, going back was a comforting thought. At this point, that "dropping out" feeling was out of my mind. Although the next three years of college were going to be challenging, I knew I would stick with it.

Sophomore year had begun and I was beyond excited to go back. To be able to see my friends again was just one of the best feelings in the world. This year seemed to be easier than the first, and even though, still struggling, I made it through another semester of college. With my grades and GPA rising, I knew that at the end of my sophomore year, my small group of friends would be graduating, leaving college and entering the real world. This year, in particular, was a whirlwind, with everything happening so fast and all at once. But I did not let the fact that my group of friends would be graduating at the end of the semester stop me from being focused on doing well in all my classes. By the time everything started to slow down, it was time to say goodbye to all my friends. Another difficult thing to do was to say goodbye to them and know that they would not be coming back the next school year. It was a tough goodbye, but my junior year of this roller coaster ride seemed to be going back uphill again.

Junior year was another tough year, but it seemed to be easier than the past two years, making new friends and trying to get through each semester without any of my old friends. In ways, this year helped me transition into a person I did not know that I could be. It helped me figure out who I was as a person and it made me a more independent person, and although my friends were working and at home, it did not feel like they were not around anymore.

As the year went on, it became easier and I was making new friends. I still thought a lot about my other friends, who had graduated the year before, and although they were gone, it did not cause me to lose focus on graduating the very next year. To be able to have contact with these friends made junior year an easier one because I knew that they would always be right there behind me with nothing but love and support. Even though they were not physically there, I knew that no matter what was going on in my life, they were all just a phone call away.

Finally, it's senior year, the most exciting year so far. It has been two years since my group of friends graduated and I am still going strong and standing on my own. Life as I knew it, a few years ago as a sophomore, changed in ways I did not expect to happen. With a whole new set of friends, feeling more comfortable, I feel that I am being included in more. Looking back, three and a half years ago, as a freshman, I do not even know why that "dropping out" idea even went through my mind. Looking back on the past three and a half years of college, through every up and down, I would not have changed going to college for the world.

My college life has definitely made me a stronger person, broken me out of my comfort zone, and shown me all the possibilities the world has to offer. I did not fall in love with anyone and I am sure that I have made mistakes along the way. Along this college roller coaster ride, I became more confident with myself as well as a stronger person.

College life is wonderful and now that I am a senior. I am ecstatic that I had the opportunity to attend college. My college experience was not just an experience, it was a life lesson, an opportunity and a time to grow. Each step along the way has helped me become a better person and has helped me realize that even if you are scared to do something, it is better to do it scared than to back out and never know how strong you really are. In the beginning, with just a handful of friends and being scared, I stuck it out till the end, and now that handful of friends I started out with has grown over the years. College for me started off scary; now, as senior year spirals to an end, that scared feeling is nowhere to be found.

There is a saying that goes like this: "Being fearless is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again ... and that even if you're scared ... DO IT SCARED!" The scared little freshman I was three and a half years ago made it through to the end and will be graduating in just two short months. College is a time to explore and live life to the fullest. Being scared to do something or take chances does not mean you are weak, it just means that you are strong enough to be scared and not let it affect you. College helps you find the person you are and who you are meant to be. College is the best time in your life, so grab on tight and hang on for the ride.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

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