1. You have random moments where you burst out laughing, no matter where you are, when you think of a ridiculous memory with one of your friends or roommates.
2. You might have anxiety about leaving this place, but you have no anxiety whatsoever about whether or not you made the most of your time here.
3. The idea of ‘home’ has either expanded or morphed a little bit for you. It might still invoke images of your childhood bedroom or your family sitting around the kitchen table. But it’s also evolved to include the college family you found here – and the sense that, wherever you are, as long as you’re surrounded by people you love, you’ll feel very much at home.
4. You know you’re going to walk away from this place liking the person that you are today.
5. You’ve already started missing this place during the most ordinary, unremarkable moments: when you’ve been hanging out in the family room with all of your roommates at midnight on a Tuesday, or when you and your friend had an uncontrollable laughter fit in the middle of your Econ class.
6. And these little pangs of homesickness, that you’re feeling before you’ve even left, are just proof that your time here wasn’t just a bunch of extraordinary, exceptional moments – it was a lot of tiny, silly, lovely little moments that became some of your fondest memories.
7. You can look back at some of the hardest times you had during these last few years and see now that they were crucial in shaping you into the person you’ve become today.
8. So not only are you aware of how these difficult challenges have shaped you, but you’re also at a point where you’re actually thankful that you went through a lot of adversity and difficulty – otherwise you wouldn’t be ‘you.’
9. In a weird way, you’re just as proud of your failures as you are of your accomplishments. Not because the failures felt good, but because they are proof that you stepped out of your comfort zone and you tried things and you were willing to fall.
10. You know that as tempting as it might be, you would never switch places with a freshman or try to do this all over again – you’ve come too far, you’ve worked too hard, and you’re too happy with where you are and who you’ve become to try to throw it all away.
11. The ‘unknown’ doesn’t completely paralyze you with fear anymore. Sure, not knowing what’s going to happen next makes you feel uneasy and intimidated and even afraid, but after coming to this once-foreign place, and making a home for yourself, and making friends and growing and accomplishing things, you know that you’re now someone who’s comfortable being uncomfortable.
12. You feel at peace with the fact that you won’t be able to stay close with every single friend you’ve met here, because you know that even if you lose touch, each one of these people will always mean something to you.
13. You know that your time here will always be a part of you and will always have a huge impact on the kind of person you’ve become, but you also know it won’t be your sole identity – it will never be the only thing you’re proud of. Rather, it will be a stepping stone in a life where you try to grow and evolve every single day.
14. You experienced a lot of high high’s, but you also experienced a lot of low low’s.
15. And when you did deal with the low low’s, you surprised yourself with your own strength, integrity, and resilience.
16. You feel proud of the people you surrounded yourself with – not because of social status or some other vain reasoning, but because you truly loved the kinds of people that they were and felt like you became a better version of yourself because of them.
17. You’ve become a person who asks for help, who goes after what they want, who does things even when they’re scared, and who never stops being curios.
18. You know you’ve learned a lot here, but you feel like you’ll never be done (in a good way).
19. And you have every intention to keep learning when you leave here, and you know there’s an infinite number of ways to do it.
20. You can reflect on what you would do differently if you had the chance, without being obsessive or overly critical about the mistakes you did make.
21. You’ve learned what it means to be a bad friend, not just through other’s actions, but through your own.
22. The freshmen here have started to seem really young to you – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. And you know you must have been the same way when you arrived here, which means you’ve changed for the better, in more ways than you even know.
23. You’re ready to leave. Not because you want this magic to end or because you want to leave a place that’s made you so happy, but because you want your time here to remain special and pure and wonderful, and in order for that to happen, it needs to have an ending.
24. You’re walking away with friends you’ll have for life – friends who will be in your wedding, friends who will be called ‘Aunt’ or ‘Uncle’ by your children, and friends who you can text at two in the morning when you’re having a tough time. Basically, you’re walking away with a second family.
25. You know that even though you’re going to miss this place terribly and painfully, you are still going to be okay. You’re not going to live in the past or obsess over how great life used to be. Instead, you’re going to treasure this time here and be thankful for the person it turned you into, and then you’re going to enter the real world and keep living your life just as wholeheartedly as you did here.