Personal growth is a natural occurrence that everyone adjusts to and learns from, but sometimes it is hard to believe how fast it can occur. It now seems odd to reflect on the arrival of Principia’s class of 2018 to orientation week, awkwardly making small talk with one another and beginning a new chapter in their lives.

According to a few freshmen, there were plenty of awkward moments. “Last semester towards the beginning, when I wasn’t very knowing of the names of the houses on campus, I was going into [Joseph McNabb House] to do homework,” explained Victor de Castro. “When I went in, someone was walking down the stairs and I asked, ‘Is this Joe or McNabb?’”

Jeff Ross added to the stories, saying, “There were very many times last semester when I would either be walking in or out of the shower and a girl would see [me]. It was pretty awkward.”

Now that the awkward moments have worn themselves out, freshmen have begun figuring out the complicated balance between steadying their busy lives and exploring the values they want to exhibit in college.

Megan Selby summed up her freshman experience so far by saying, “I felt like my first semester was about FYE, getting into things and doing anything that’s possible, and second semester is just when you figure everything out by weighing out your involvement in activities and grasping what you love to do.”

One aspect is dealing with the busy schedules in the second semester that do not involve any FYE courses. “I am just as busy this semester as I was last semester,” said Channing Fisher, “but my classes this semester are more serious because they are more focused towards my major. ”

When asked which semester has been more difficult so far, Selby said, “First semester is more difficult because you have to get adjusted to everything. By second semester, you have every little thing planned out and you know what you’re doing more. You have developed.”

Parker Davidson had a differing view on the difficulty level. “I think I am taking a few tougher classes this semester which means I have more homework. So I am definitely trying to make more time to hang out with my friends and do things besides school work.”

De Castro added, “Even when I don’t have a lot of school work, I have been working a lot in order to keep myself busy. I don’t want to sit in my room and just do nothing. This semester has gone by more efficiently, but I definitely have more work to do.”

Some of the best advice that upperclassmen give freshmen is to have the courage to try out new things during the first semester of college. However, it is also crucial that freshmen have the discipline to take a step away from extra commitments and use their time in a “big rocks” manner.

Brie Burns has learned this form of discipline by stepping away from some of the clubs she partook in during the first semester. “I think this semester I am a bit more focused in my extra-curricular activities,” she said. “Last semester I would skip meetings for when I wanted to hang out with friends. But I have also had to give up a few things, like the swing dance club, which I enjoyed, and be more focused and knowledgeable of the things that I really care and am passionate about.”

Although it is still the start of their college career, freshmen are tempted to look a few years down the road and wonder where they will be; and that can be a scary thing. “My thought of really trying to figure out what my purpose is and why I am here has helped me develop into who I am second semester,” Selby said. “The continuation of that thought will help put me at ease in the future.”

Burns said that she has definitely felt a change since coming to college. “I feel like I have already changed as a person since arriving at college. Being away from your family, you learn more about the things you care about, more than what may influence you on the outside.”

“Principia is the best place I could have ever gone to college, specifically for the reason [that it is] a wonderful foundation,” said Burns. “It will give you the spiritual foundation [to] grow in your relationship with God, which will help define who you are for the rest of your life.”

In reality, it is only the beginning of a promising four years of academic, spiritual, and personal growth for the class of 2018. The freshmen may be rambunctious and awkward at times, but by the time they walk across the commencement stage, they will have evolved into great leaders of the world. Burns summed it up best by saying, “You learn how to reflect, accept, and grow in Love when you’re here. No matter what [degree you graduate with], everyone majors in Love.”