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“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

I have always loved this quote and believe it's 100 percent true. I posted this quote on Instagram the night before I left my hometown to start my freshman year in August 2017. 

First and foremost, welcome to campus, freshmeat!

I kid, I kid… but really, congratulations and welcome! This is a huge success and you should be so incredibly proud of yourself.

I am currently a senior who is in absolute disbelief of how fast these past three years have flown by.

It feels like yesterday my family and I were moving me into Haggin Hall, room 234 (random sidenote: I picked room 234 because I thought it would be easy to remember and it just numerically made sense. And yes, I don’t have friends).

Like many of you (I’m sure), I come from a very small town in Kentucky. And goodness, I could not wait until move-in day, when I could get out of that place that seemingly smothered me for quite some time.

I was extremely thrilled because I got to move away to a bigger city, meet new people, gain new experiences and reinvent myself.

However, I made mistakes and learned things about myself and the world throughout the process. 

With that being said, these are a few random things I wish I would have known, realized or things I am glad I did my freshman year (in no particular order):

1) You are not too cool for your hometown friends.

2) You are not too cool to call and check in with your parents, siblings or family.

3) It’s okay to go home for a weekend.

4) Study for your Friday exam. That Thursday fraternity party can wait.

5) All fraternity parties are the same.

6) Fraternity parties are fun until they aren’t.

7) Don’t neglect those who really care about you.

8) Grades matter — every single one of them.

9) Get up and go to class; a lack of participation points is often what makes your grade drop drastically.

10) Drinking a lot is not good for you, mentally and physically.

11) If you do decide to drink, make sure you are safe and smart and pace yourself.

12) A night in your dorm or apartment eating junk food and watching YouTube videos or movies with friends is by far more fun, rewarding and memorable than any party.

13) Introduce yourself to people in your hallway, in class, around campus — wherever really —you never know what friendship could form out of a simple introduction and smile.

14) Be nice to your professors, show them respect and introduce yourself to them.

15) Do not overwhelm yourself.

16) Don’t feel like you have to join 12,000 organizations, take 20 hours and run for President just to make your LinkedIn sexy — quality over quantity.

17) Don’t lose yourself.

18) Don’t fall into peer pressure.

19) Enjoy yourself.

20) Go on that random Dairy Queen run with a new friend.

21) Take a deep breath.

22) Walk around campus more.

23) Take advantage of the resources on campus (especially PresentationU and The Study)

24) Explore local places.

25) Listen in class.

26) Take notes.

27) Be serious, but not too serious.

28) Be nice to UK faculty.

29) Go to events, on and off campus.

30) Try new things!

31) Be safe.

32) Take it all in. Every bit of it. Make mistakes and learn from them, create memories, form friendships and realize how fortunate you are to be a student.

All in all, have fun and be smart. The University of Kentucky is a wonderful place, and I am so fortunate that I have attended this university for the past three years. Time flies, so just enjoy it and be safe.

Once again, congratulations and welcome Wildcat!