I walk into the classroom on the first day of college and pick a random desk to sit at. No one really knows each other so it’s awkwardly quiet until the teacher breaks the ice.

“Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves. Say where you’re from, what your major is and what you want to do with that .”

It goes through half the class before it gets to me. Each person said what he or she was planning to study and what they wanted their career to be with confidence and certainty.

Then it was my turn.

“My name is Laura Grace, I’m from Dallas, I’m a pre-business major and I have no idea what I want to do.”

Everyone seemed to have an answer except for me. I figured since it was my first semester, it was fine that I didn’t know. Yet this continued to happen for the first two years of college. I was always surrounded with the students who had known since the beginning of high school exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives, while I struggled with still not having an answer.

Frankly, I came to Baylor my freshman year with the mindset that I was in college because that was just the next step in life, not because I wanted to further my education to pursue a certain career. This mindset was detrimental for me in many ways because I prioritized anything and everything over school that year.

I always chose to hang out with friends, but did not make any deep friendships. I dreaded going to my business classes and I never did the homework. I hated my roommate situation, so I avoided my dorm room as much as possible. I did not make the grade requirement to join a sorority. I entered into a relationship despite so many red flags from the start and proceeded without hesitation. I compromised my character to become someone I was not, putting my reputation on the line.

I thought I was having fun. I thought I was happy. But the way I was living my life was nothing to be proud of. Eventually the year ended, the relationship ended and I moved out of the dorm.

Sophomore year presented itself with so much potential, yet those same immature tendencies from freshman year followed me. I liked my new roommates and new apartment, but I was still unhappy going to class every day, studying something I had no interest in.

I struggled getting over that freshman year relationship for longer than I’d like to admit. The aftermath of it took an emotional and mental toll on me for an entire semester. I felt more pressure than ever to appear like I had everything together, when in reality I was falling apart.

I ended up failing two classes that semester, which virtually ruined my relationship with my parents. They were upset with me for wasting their money and told me they would not pay for college anymore if I was not going to take it seriously.

I took the following semester off from school. While I still took 15 hours of classes at a community college so I wouldn’t fall behind, I needed a break from the life I had previously been living.

That semester was challenging for me. I was distant from my friends, I was on bad terms with my parents and I had to make lots of sacrifices to support myself financially. For a long time, I was ashamed of my journey throughout college. I tried to keep every struggle a secret because there was pressure to maintain a certain image on social media.

I felt like I was doing college “wrong.” I didn’t get a 4.0 each semester. I didn’t get into the sorority of my dreams and meet the girls who would become my bridesmaids. I didn’t meet the love of my life freshman year and make plans to get engaged before graduation.

I didn’t come into college with my life already planned out. I didn’t have it all together.

What I gained that semester was much more valuable. I learned so many lessons beyond the classroom that I wouldn’t have learned outside of those hardships. My relationship with my parents grew. I learned how to handle difficult roommates. I know what to look for in a relationship and, better yet, what to avoid. I now understand the value of friendship and what a true friend looks like. I learned that failure is essential for growth.

I now live in a good house with sweet roommates and I have a boyfriend who treats me well. I love my new major and I have a better idea of what I want to do after graduation. Everything worked out just fine for me.

As long as you make mistakes, learn your lessons, grow in new ways and mature, you will be okay.  My college experience has been anything but normal, but it turned out to be perfect for me.

Maybe I did college right after all.