Freshman Year

Always take the stairs.

I remember the moment I first stepped through the doors in Julia Tutwiler Hall, and I officially became a freshman at the University of Alabama. I was dripping with sweat and my hands were full of boxes, but the first thing I did was head for the stairs. I’d spent hours just months earlier strategizing which room to pick so I could take the stairs every day and get in a good workout. The “Freshman 15” was the last thing I wanted to happen, so my one rule was: always take the stairs. That lasted about five days before I discovered the convenience of the elevator. I was absolutely determined to avoid change, but the unavoidable truth was that my entire life was changing. Here are a few things I’ve learned as a freshman amid this whirlwind of change.


  1. Make good things happen.
    Before I leave my room each morning, I put my key around my wrist and a little bracelet that reads: “Make good things happen.” Whether that be crushing a test or something as simple as making a kind gesture, I wear this as a constant reminder of my purpose to serve others and to be my best self.
  2.  The more the merrier.
    If there’s one thing that has become more abundant in my life since I came here, it’s friendships: genuine, true friendships like no other. I’ve made it my mission to discover every person, every story and every dream. Getting to know so many driven girls has motivated me to be the very best version of myself!
  3. Yes, I’m from Pell City, Alabama… no, not Shell City from Spongebob
    I counted down the days until I could leave the little town I grew up in and start over in Tuscaloosa. I couldn’t wait to meet interesting new people from all different places. However, I quickly realized I wasn’t coming to college to become a whole new person. I was bringing my values and life lessons learned growing up in Pell City with me on this new journey. I would meet new friends who were shocked I survived without a Target or a Starbucks, but most importantly, I came to realize how much I truly treasured my home. I will always be me, and a new place will never change that.
  4. Enjoy every last moment
    Days fly by faster here than anywhere else. I’ll blink my eyes, and a month of late-night McDonald’s runs, cramming in a dorm room bed to watch The Bachelor, and countless little moments of laughter have accumulated. I can’t help but reflect upon six months ago none of us even knew each other, and now I have so many great friends who will be in my life forever. It’s crazy to think almost an entire school year has passed, and in just a few short months I’ll be moving out of my tiny home in Tutwiler that seems to be growing even smaller by the day.
  5.  Take the stairs… but only when you can.
    The other day, I remembered my vow and decided to conquer the stairs. I’m embarrassed to say I almost stopped to get on the elevator by Floor 4. If I could go back and tell myself anything, it’d be that it’s okay to take the elevator. It’s okay to fail sometimes, and it’s okay to admit you don’t always have it together. In Alpha Chi, we live by the motto, “Real. Strong. Women.” I think it is important always to try your hardest, but it’s also essential that we do not strive for perfection, but instead to be genuine, strong women.


Written by: Margaret Seay 

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