Like so many students, Morgan Braman's life changed completely when she arrived at the University of West Georgia.

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Morgan Braman's reflections

“I was so excited for college. I started packing my room the day after high school graduation and could not wait until move-in day. When I got to UWG on August 5, I realized for the first time in my life that I had no pressure from others.

“And I was terrified.

“It scared me to not have the weight of expectations from those around me. I knew if I could keep busy, I would be okay. So I joined the Honors College, Hall Council and a student fellowship group. I got a job, made great grades in my classes and participated in the Emerging Leaders Program. All in one semester.

“Getting involved took up a lot of time, but it didn’t pressure me like I was used to. There was freedom in being accountable to myself and charting my own course.

“When I finally went home for break for the first time, things there were unfamiliar. My hometown friends talked about their new friends I didn’t know. I felt like a welcome guest in the house I grew up in.

“That’s when I realized: West Georgia is my home now, and I am a different person than I was before.

“College was nothing like I expected. I felt prepared academically, but could have never expected the life lessons I’ve learned in just my first year. I’ve set expectations for myself that challenge and fulfill me.

“My word for 2019 is growth. I am so excited to take on new experiences because they are unfamiliar. As I grow, I want to be more aware of the importance of life’s little moments – times I may not think are valuable, but end up making a huge impact on my life.

“I have found in UWG a haven for transformation and self discovery, and I want to leave my mark on this place. I want to leave a legacy that I pursued relationships that were not directly in my path, that I cared about others more than myself, that I loved my school and it rubbed off on everyone I met.

“What’s new about me? Everything.”

Video by Xiaojuan Christian

Posted on Feb. 21, 2019