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I am more than “just a freshman.”

Sure, in the beginning of my fall semester, I was one of the “newbies” on campus. I didn’t know all the words to my school’s alma mater (OK, maybe I still don’t), I needed help finding a classroom (or two) and I did not know what to expect for my first midterms, projects and final exams – but older students were at this point once, too. I am still learning – not just about the little things on campus, but about big, important life things, too.

I am a freshman, but I am not clueless.

I don’t know it all – that’s for sure – but I do know what I love to do. I have a vision for the future, and I think often about my dreams and my longterm goals. I am in the process of finding out more about myself, but that does not mean I am wandering aimlessly without a plan. Though this is only the beginning of my academic career, I am allowed to be sure of myself and my area of study. I may be “just a freshman,” but I am allowed to think about the future, even it seems ambitious or far-off.

I am a freshman, but I am not afraid to pursue my passions.

Freshman year of college is an incredibly important time for students to learn more about themselves and their strengths and weaknesses – as well as to find their niche, both academically and socially. I think it is important for first-year college students to let go of the idea that they cannot go after endeavors, activities and positions they are interested in just because they are the “newbies” on campus. It’s no secret that starting college with a completely blank slate is daunting; trust me, I know how it feels to be thousands of miles away from home without one familiar face – at first, it was just downright nerve-wracking. However, even before moving into my freshman dorm, I knew I had to take charge of my experience by overcoming the intimidation of not only being far away from home, but of being the “underdog” in the campus community. If there is something you truly want to be involved in, why wait? Use your resources, ask for help and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. My biggest advice to incoming college freshmen is to not be afraid to join clubs, apply for positions and become involved in organizations just because you don’t know anyone or are one of the only underclassmen students. If I would have let the “I’m just a freshman” mindset get to me, I would have missed out on exciting and valuable opportunities, such as deciding to study abroad this summer and landing an internship with my school’s Her Campus chapter, an organization which I have grown to love.

I am a freshman, and I know the best is yet to come.

As my first year of college comes to a close, I have many incredible experiences to reflect upon, but it is an exhilarating feeling to know that this is only the beginning – not only of my college career, but of the rest of my life. Freshman year is an amazing chance to spend time doing things that make you happy and finding ways to incorporate those little moments of joy into your daily life. Each of these happy moments and memories adds up to a bigger picture; these snippets will become an important part of your college days and will help you cultivate new interests, new connections and new relationships. It is important to live in the moment and enjoy the “little things” of the here and now. However, I am aware that even though I have grown so much in the past year, I am still changing and learning every single day. There are so many more amazing things to come, on campus and beyond, and I can’t wait to experience it all.

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the author

Darcy Schild is a rising sophomore Journalism major at the University of Florida. An Ohio native, Darcy is excited to share her experiences and advice as an out-of-state collegiate. When she's not blogging (at, you can find her critiquing fonts or admiring other people's dogs. Contact her at or on Twitter @darcyschild.

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