Phew. Life has finally settled down for me. (A little.) I love Christmas, but sometimes the holiday season can be a bit overwhelming. Before I left for Vermont, I hadn’t done laundry in two weeks, my clothing was strewn throughout the apartment, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten dinner at home. And don’t even get me started on the state of my GMail inbox. I seriously had (still have) over 200 unanswered messages. (#fail) Needless to say, I’m thankful Christmas break is here, and I can’t wait to get rid of this lingering sore throat. A big dose of family, skiing and relaxation is exactly what I need. ;)

Vest: J.Crew (Old), current version and striped version still available, Old Navy version here, and different hot pink version here / NecklaceBenevolent Jewels (c/o) / Bracelets: Capwell + Co (c/o) and J.CrewJeansHudson / Bag: Tory Burch / Sweater: Old Navy (Sold out), similar here / Shirt: Target (Old), similar here / Boots: Franco Sarto (Old), similar here and here / WatchMichael Kors / EarringsJ.Crew, less expensive version here / SunniesKate Spade

I’m sure most of you can relate to this. No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s beyond easy to get stressed in December. It just always seems to be an insanely busy month. We have the holidays, of course, but we also have the end of the fiscal year for many businesses, and finals for high school and college students.

Man. College. It seems like forever ago that I first stepped foot on campus as a freshman, but at the same time, it feels like it was just yesterday. Overall, college was a very positive experience for me, and I’m so happy I went where I went, but I kind of shudder thinking about my first year. To be honest, it was kind of disastrous. ;) (Who can relate?!)

I fared relatively well in the beginning. I mean, sure. I was a little homesick, but I put myself out there and tried my best to make friends, get involved in the school’s community, and keep busy. Around December, though, I started to feel really lonely. I’d formed friendships with other freshmen, but I was impatient with those friendships. I wanted them to be like those I’d had in high school. Those that I’d “worked on” (without even knowing it) for years. Why did everyone just feel like an acquaintance?

I missed my family like crazy, too. The first couple of months of college felt like I was at sleep-away camp. But sleep-away camp usually lasts two months, three months, max. It had been over three months, though, and I was still there, without my family. I hated that life just kind of went on without me at home. There were family dinners every night that I missed, birthdays that I missed, and trips that I missed. I felt like I was missing everything.

And then there were my classes. I somehow ended up with statistics, philosophy and politics courses on my plate that first semester, and I was drowning. (I was much more of an English literature girl.) Oh! And there was the whole issue of living in a forced triple. Aw-ful. It’s a long, twisted story for another time, but one of my roommates proved to be completely insane. (She’d placed a tape recorder in the room, haha.)

I remember scrolling through my AIM Buddy List (because Facebook didn’t exist yet ;)), comparing myself to my high school friends. Everyone seemed to have a status that screamed, “Look at me! I’m loving college! Life is amazing!” Why didn’t I feel the same? I couldn’t see it then, but I know now that this certainly wasn’t the case.

Freshman year of college–and college as a whole–is a transitional period. For nearly everyone. When I was there, I was deeply disappointed in myself that I wasn’t loving every second of it. But who truly does? And why compare yourself and your experiences to others and their experiences?

College–particularly freshman year of college–is a time of uncertainty, questioning and often unhappiness, but it is also a time of self discovery. Through the many, many mistakes I made during that period, I learned what I want out of life (friendship-, relationship- and career-wise), and I’m thankful for that. It’s my belief that each life stage shapes the next, and life just gets better and better along the way.

What was your college experience like? Dish! ;)