1. To the friends who screwed me over, thank you. You taught me that people will always be selfish and always wanting to see the best in someone can only hurt you yourself. Thank you for teaching me to look beyond what I wanted to see and face having to end unhealthy relationships. Thank you for giving me insight into the inner workings of people who keep you in their life for narcissistic reasons, and most of all, thank you for bringing out the courage within me to demand better for myself.
2. To the friends who stood by me in times of loss, whether we remained close or not, thank you. Thank you for showing me, no matter how often we may clash, that when it comes down to it everyone deserves to be treated with humanity and respect.
3. To the boys who couldn’t hurt me, thank you for reminding me why I don’t let my guard down. Thank you for reminding me that for someone to hurt me, I have to allow them to have a hold on me.
4. To the boys that did hurt me, thank you for teaching me bravery in picking myself back up, and thank you for the amazing time I had in my rebound.
5. To the friendships and relationships that fell through, thank you for teaching me that sometimes good things have to fall apart for better things to come together.
6. To the narcissistic girls who tear apart their friendships in seeking attention, thank you for showing me what not to be, and most importantly, how not to act on social media.
7. To the friends I met in my travels abroad, thank you for being by my side and lighting up my life. Thank you for pressuring me to ignore attempts at drama or conflict by the constant reminder of our limited time together. A lesson which implies to life in general, really.
8. To my roommates, suitemates and housemates, thank you for giving me patience. Thank you for driving me nuts, making me laugh on the roughest days and most of all, thank you for letting me come back to a house that smells like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
9. To the brothers at the frat house, thank you for respecting me. It is not often a girl can spend time with a group of guys who treat them with loyalty and care.
10. To the friends who brought me food/medicine/drugs when I was sick, thank you endlessly. It is gestures like this that resonate with me long after. You taught me the impact a small gesture can have on a soul.
11. To the friends who dropped out, transferred and graduated, thank you for reminding me of life’s shortness and unpredictability by reminding me to make every moment count. Thank you for showing me life does not need to unfold in the cookie cutter way, and that happiness, not a shiny resume, should be the true pursuit.
12. To the incredible and beautiful people I met in my four years, thank you for allowing me to get to know you. You have all been sunshine at some point or the other, and I wish the world would treasure people like you more. If Americans had been known through you and not Jersey Shore, then this world would be a different place. But it’s okay, I’m sure you guys are on it.
13. To my best friends, thank you for making me feel safe, happy, and at home. Thank you for making me laugh on my roughest, thank you for playing with me, thank you for holding my hair back, and thank you for having my back. Thank you for the great memories, and I’m sorry things won’t be the same.
14. To the cracks and corners of dorm rooms where I lived, Thank you for showing me home is not an existing physical space but one you must create.
15. To my job, thank you for teaching me how much I should appreciate someone approaching me to top off my less than half full glass of water. Thank you also for gracing me with some of the best co-workers and time spent polishing silverware a student could ask for.
16. To the faculty and staff who befriended and cared for me, thank you for showing me how much I have to learn about the world.
17. To my family, thank you for giving me the support, love and kindness to make it through college in another country.
18. To the friends who opened their homes to me during the holidays, thank you. I can’t tell you how much It means to me to feel so appreciated and cared for. Being an international student, I cannot wait to return the favor one day. Thank you for giving me that occasion to look forward to.