05/28/2013 10:51 am ET Updated Jul 28, 2013

The 5 Defining Quotes of my Freshman Year

Getty Images

1. "Don't be an amateur in your own life"

A couple months ago, I went to an event at my school called the Last Lecture Series. The
Last Lecture Series is where popular professors give a lecture as though it were their last.

The Astronomy professor at my school said this quote at the end of his lecture, and it really resonated with me. Hearing those words was a reminder of how much control I have over my life and how I don't want to be the side character in my own life story. This simple advice is just so direct and honest that I can't help but be inspired by it. It's been my go-to inspirational quote during time-consuming job applications, stressful essays and assignments and finals week.

2. "Do you have a Facebook? I'll add you!"

My mom likes to tell this little story about how different my sister and I were growing up. On
the first day of school, my sister would apparently come home, talking about how many best
friends she made. On the last day of school, my mom would ask me if I had many friends,
and I answered "No" for years. My friend-making skills have improved since then, but I still
get a little nervous thinking about if I'll find someone that I'll hit it off with instantly or if I'll be able to fit in with a pre-existing group of friends. Hence this quote being on this list.

This is a question that I have asked quite a few times this year. Before frosh year actually even began, I was eager (read: borderline desperate) to ensure that I had friends in college. At orientation, I made a point to add every single person that I met on Facebook. And, I basically continued this for the first few months of college. Now, it's not like I regret making an effort to make friends, but I've honestly only stayed friends with a quarter of these people. I was so hasty and caught up in adding people because I wanted to stay connected with them, believing that I would actually hit them up on Facebook to hang out. But, that never actually happened. However, I did actually manage to make friends in college (Mom, you can stop telling that story now.). But, I did so the old-fashioned way: having an actual real conversation with them (not just quick intros), bonding over mutual likes/ obsessions, and just having a lot of face-to-face interaction.

Moral of the story: While it sure is nice adding people on Facebook or following them on Instagram, it's more important to just focus on becoming friends IRL and then going from there.

3. "We want Aaron!"

This year, I went to my first REAL concert. I learned what it was like to be in a crowded concert hall, getting pushed and blocked. I witnessed the energy and emotion that comes with live performances. I experienced going to a concert on a Tuesday night and staying out till 1AM. All because Aaron Carter going on tour and coming to Tucson was just too good to pass up. Yes, my first concert ever was Aaron Carter, not when I was like 12, but just a few months ago. Don't judge.

The concert hall was packed; I'd say ninety percent of the attendees were girls. There were five opening acts, and since I was concert noob, I actually really wanted to get there on time. After standing through five opening acts and chanting "We want Aaron!" multiple times, Aaron Carter finally performed. And, that night easily became the best Tuesday I've had in my college career.

4. "Q: How do you integrate over a donut? A: Carefully."

Okay, so this quote is actually from an email from my instructor for this Vector Calc workshop class I took last semester. I came into college not knowing what I wanted to study. Through taking a range of courses this year, I'm set with my majors and career plans... for now. Up until taking this class, I never thought about majoring in math. Isn't that like social suicide?

But, this class made me enjoy math. Which is truly saying something. This course made me understand problem-solving and analyzing and using some common sense to reach an answer. It made me understand that math can be enjoyable and will leave you feeling accomplished. Before this course, a lot of the classes I had taken in college seemed irrelevant, only having the sole purpose of filling a basic requirement. But this course truly challenged me; it made me study and work hard and think. Think, as in come up with completely original ideas and not just memorize facts or reword a common argument about a classic piece of literature. While I may be just a little fuzzy on how to actually integrate over a donut, I have learned what it's like to be passionate about and interested in a subject versus just being there because you have to.

5. "Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps.' That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps."

There are a couple reasons why this quote has defined my freshman year. One is that it is
from one of my favorite novels, Looking for Alaska by John Green. Over winter break, I was bored, decided to read a novel, and randomly came across this one. I finished it in one day, staying up till 2 am because I was just so engrossed by this story of youth and love and death. Looking for Alaska reminded me why I loved to read.

Also, as cheesy as this may sound, going to college has been me seeking a Great Perhaps. It
has been an uphill battle, an ongoing struggle, and a rough transition. But, I say this in the
best way possible. I've been told for years how pivotal that freshman year of college is, but
never believed its hype until I experienced it for myself. It's crazy how stagnant you can be
for so long, and then one year will make you rethink and change every aspect of your life.

So, farewell frosh year of college. And summer 2013, let's go!