Written by: Catherine Nettlenettle

Just over one month ago, thousands of freshman students swarmed the campus at the University of Arkansas during move in week. As families unloaded cars and bid their children farewell, often with a few tears, students began an experience foreign to nearly all of them. Many moved into a dorm room, most commonly shared with another student. As suitcases were unpacked, pictures were hung of fond memories and places, and desks were organized, a feeling of uncertainty and excitement filled the hearts and stomachs of these freshman. If you were anything like me, as soon as you finished unpacking, re-organizing, and re-decorating a couple times, this question might have filled your thoughts: What do I do now? I walked out into the hallway anxiously, not really all that sure of what my next steps should be. College was something completely new to me, something I had no actual experience with, and only a few preconceived ideas based off of other people’s short stories and social media posts. I thought to myself that the next week, without classes, might be spent a little restlessly. Little did I know, the following week would be filled with some of my sweetest and most enjoyable summer memories. While most of the girls I was friends with were busy with rush and Greek Life, I found myself spending time playing volleyball, having movie and game nights, exploring Fayetteville, hiking, boating, eating delicious food, and meeting people from all different parts of the globe. I quickly befriended girls from China, Egypt, and Bolivia, and was amazed by the new things I learned, and the variety of culture that I got to experience. By Sunday night before classes started, I was saddened at the thought of summer coming to an end, and filled with anxiety about classes the following day. As I mapped out the locations of the buildings my classes were in, I was filled with dread at the thought of being late and getting lost. When Monday began and I journeyed from class to class, I realized that I might just actually enjoy my classes and professors, and I was filled with excitement at the prospect of gaining knowledge I could apply to help others and my community. This week has already been filled with hours of homework and studying, and there are moments when I wish I could just go back to watching Netflix. But then I remember the incredible opportunity I have to learn, to explore, to create, and to discover, and am filled with passion to make the most of it. From the short time I have spent in college, I have realized that I should take each opportunity as it comes, from learning to meeting new people, from trying new things to jumping outside of my comfort zone. I am eager for what is to come, and ready to tackle the next day.