When I was in high school, I said I would rather drop dead than attend classes on your campus. I was even more dramatic then than I am now and believed that I was too good for a small private University in a country foreign to me. Everyone there looked the same – they all dressed the same and acted the same, and all seemed to be interested in one of two things: Getting laid or getting their Mrs. Degree. I wasn’t interested in either. But when I got declined from my two first-choice schools, I really had no other choice. So I chose to attend you like my family members had before me, and hoped that things would turn out okay.
Throughout my four years sleeping in your dorm rooms and owning my very first apartment with my best friend, you broke my heart over and over again. I broke the school record by crying in every single building on campus. I wrote essays in the library every night until closing and had at least one existential life crisis a week.
I threw up on your cement ground and kissed on your wooden benches. I snuck out late at night to speak to The Tower Ghost and tried to avoid passing my own ghosts in every building. But it was always hard to know where he or she would be. I lived right across and next door to people who broke my young, fragile heart, and couldn’t make up my mind about what or who or where was right for me. I got lost a million times trying to find my way and lost a lot of people that I really believed in. Yet there were plenty of moments to make up for all of it.
It’s funny how when we look back on our memories, we only remember the good things.
We forget to acknowledge that within those happy moments, there were bad ones too. We never miss those moments as much. But just because we don’t miss them, doesn’t mean we don’t need their existence for the happy ones to stay alive. So when I look back on my four years on your campus, I don’t remember crying myself to sleep five nights a week my junior year.
I remember laughing in my kitchen over pots of macaroni and cheese. I don’t remember the time I almost jumped in front of a truck at 18; I remember the night my three best friends taught me how to love myself again. I don’t remember the time I didn’t get into that one stupid band; I remember performing on multiple stages with two of my favourite people in the world. And I don’t remember the people who paralyzed me; I remember the people who proved to me that everyone has a genuine goodness inside of their heart.
As I watch my younger friends post photos and statuses about you for the upcoming year of school, I want you to know that I am happy with where I am at in my life. And I have you to thank. I guess what I’m saying is that I was wrong. People on your campus aren’t all the same – every single person I met has a unique, brilliant and worthy story. Every person I met changed my life. I want you to know that I am grateful for everything you taught me about love and brokenness, about fear and loss. About friendship and learning, and all the amazing things you’ve taught me about life overall. I know I said I would never miss you, but I promise you that I already do.