By Chelsea Bailey, Assistant Features Editor —

Dear Freshmen,

After four long years in college, I feel I’ve learned quite a bit. To help you prepare for this new chapter in your life, I’m going to share one of the most important things I learned: to embrace change.

Going into your freshman year, I’m sure you have lots of ideas about that the next four (or more) years are going to look like; what your major will be, what you’ll do on the weekends, which clubs you’ll join. Don’t hold on too tightly to these. Change is inevitable. You’ll discover new passions and talents, fail classes and change your mind about a thousand times. That’s okay. Don’t settle and don’t be afraid to switch paths.

Coming out of high school, you’ve generally lived life from a narrow perspective with a worldview greatly shaped by what your parents and teachers have taught you. Now you have the chance to surround yourself with people with different ideals, religions, and backgrounds. Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve always known. Listen to people and their stories, learn from them and let them expand what you think you know.

Time and time again, opportunities for new experiences will be presented to you. Some will be great moments of growth and discovery, and some may not end as well as you’d hoped, but there’s always something to be learned from it about yourself, the world around you and others. Be cautious, but have fun.

Unfortunately, you may face some trying times while you’re here at UTC. You’re going to be hurt, heartbroken, disappointed or rejected at some point, but something better is always coming, so hold on, lean on good friends, take a trip to the counseling center and take care of yourself. It may take a while, but I promise the darkness will clear and sun will shine on you again.

This is truly a time of freedom and personal development. Please never do yourself the disservice of thinking you have everything figured out because nothing is concrete. Life is always switching things up on you, so let it. Embrace it. If you play your cards right, who you are when you graduate will be vastly different than who you are today.

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