The following essay was submitted by Paris Singleton as part of our #Write2Win Contest. It was one of our favorite submissions, so she’s won a prize and we’re reposting it here.

iStock_000004630282SmallCurrently I am a sophomore at Texas State, and being a Bobcat is my life now. Before coming to college I was a wallflower, not much going on and not much to remember me by, but I remember promising myself that I would make a real effort to break out of that, have fun, push myself, and do what I wanted.

My first year at Texas State was a full nine months of growing into adulthood, backtracking through things I hadn’t done before, that I should have done in high school. My roommates were as different from me as I could have ever imagined, and we got on each other’s nerves, but I think college, at least the first year is truly about learning from other people; really taking what they give out and adding that to your journey through the next four years of your life.

Most people seem to think that college is just about being away from parents, not having to answer to anyone, and just living the river-tubing, bikini-wearing, party ‘til you drop life. But when you’ve got three tests in one week that you haven’t studied for and you’re literally crying into your Panda Express you realize that college is still school. I have never felt the kind of responsibility that I have before college. It’s weird at first, but also amazing, knowing that you and only you are in charge of whether you graduate or not.

I am fortunate to be a student at Texas State University, and I honestly couldn’t imagine myself being anything other than a Bobcat. When it’s all boiled down, college is just three simple things: fun, stressful, and expensive. It’s what we as Texas State students choose to do in between these three things that makes us the students we are, what defines college uniquely for ourselves.