In fifteen days, I will have completed 44 total credit hours for my first year at Southwestern. Although I’ve gotten a lot out of the lectures and exams, what I have truly gained came from my experiences outside of the school work.

I can already tell that when that last day of classes comes around I will be relieved, yet empty. I have learned far more in my first year at Southwestern than I have anywhere else in my life. My last wish as a freshman is that I can pass on what knowledge I have gained to whoever may be reading this.

First off, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may be, meeting new people is not nearly as bad as never knowing someone the way you would have if you had just spared a hello. As with the rest of the freshman, my experiences at SC began with Builder Camp. Even though I felt just as out of place as everyone else did, it is what truly kick started the things to come. Even if it means coming out of your comfort zone, don’t hesitate to meet someone new. You never know how much they will change your life and even though you may think you have enough friends, the heart has no limit on the amount of people it can store.

I also found the transition from high school level work to college work to be a shock. I never got lower than a B in high school, but I soon learned that college is no walk in the park. With this being the first time I was ever on my own, I found out quickly that everything you learn leading up to college is used to help you survive. When you come to SC, you have to take responsibility for yourself and the decisions you make. If there is one thing that the mounds of homework has taught me at college, it is that when you have the right mind set, responsibility finds you. So for all those out there coming to the point where school work is becoming a backstage priority to wishing it was summer, all I can say is hang in there. There is nothing stopping you from making it through these final weeks but you.

I have been asked by a large variety of people why I like Southwestern so much. I tell them that it is a beautiful place in a very nice town that is just the right size for me. What I never forget to relay to them is how amazing the people are at the college. All those, professors, administrators and fellow students alike, have found a way to make me feel as though SC is my second home. Though I was nervous, coming here was like starting a new life and I’m glad I chose a place that welcomed me with open arms. No matter what the situation is, the professors I’ve had have always stepped up and helped me whenever I was in need of assistance. They have also shown that they care. They have made me feel as though they want me to succeed just as they want every one of their students to go far in life.

As far as the friends I’ve made, for many of us, the journey is just beginning and for some, we may not meet for a while due to graduation and such. Despite this, I am still excited for the years to come. For those who do not see Southwestern the same as I do, I know I cannot shift your mind set. Southwestern truly is an amazing place for all those who choose to picture it that way.

Finally, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give you as the reader something to think on after you’re done with the column. As we all approach the end of the year, there is one thing we all have on our minds. Summer is a time of fun, relaxation by the lake or the pool and, of course, summer jobs. Many of us will be working our butts off during the summer vacation to pay for a trip back to SC next semester. Also, there will be a good number of those who will be thinking of ways to get farther along with their degree and how to prepare for the future. To this I have to say I hope everyone has a great summer and try not to kill yourselves trying to get ahead. Though it is important for all of us to strive to get better at what we want to do, I think it is more productive to live for the present. Look forward to the future and what you want to do with your life, but remember that you are not living four years from now. You are living now.