With graduation season upon us, I think it is safe to assume that most of us seniors are feeling very reflective. Four years is a long time. So many people have come and gone from my life over these four years, and I have to say that I’m grateful for all of them.
There were my freshman friends: the people who I explored with, learned with, and grew up very quickly with. While distance and differences may have driven some of us apart, these friends were absolute necessities for becoming who I am today. Freshman year is a time of scrambling around, trying to figure out where you fit in and who you’re going to become. Freshman year friends are the ones who accepted you during that confusing time of your life, so hats off to them. Some of whom have transferred or grown apart, but some have managed to stick around for the entire four year ride. I think that my personal favorite type of freshman year friend are the ones from whom you have grown apart, but with a mutual understanding of your differences and no hard feelings. The friends who you bump into every seven months and seeing them can make your entire day.
Then there are the friends who simply were not meant to be. Since this is the time of our lives where we really come into our own and develop as individuals, it is inevitable that throughout this journey you will become incompatible with some people who you once considered great friends. Whether it be a slow drift apart or a tumultuous splitting up, these friends are not to be blamed, but to be thanked. Finding yourself in a friendship with someone who is not compatible as a friend is perhaps more of a learning experience than some of your college courses have been. These situations teach you what you value in a friend or a partner. They teach you what your deal breakers are. They teach you what you deserve, and they teach you your threshold for letting go. Through these interactions you grow as an individual.
Coworkers are the friends who see your potential even more than you do yourself. If you’re lucky enough to have found a college job in your field, these people share your passions and interests. Not only are they your first contacts as you begin a life of networking, but they are the people who have helped you to find your niche. Where you see yourself doing an average job, they can see the ways in which you excel. Coworkers can be some of the most supportive and inspirational friends, and their removal from your usual crew can be refreshing at times.
Roommates, however, are the bread and butter of your college experience. These people can make or break you, and with any luck – you’ve found the people who make you. As your cheerleaders, romantic consultants, resume editors, drinking partners, napping partners, reality checkers, and everything in between: these people know you. They know you better than anyone else. You can communicate without words, because words are for people with bonds weaker than yours.
The concept of leaving these people is scary. Some will move far away and losing touch is a real possibility. Everyone is entering a new phase of life and those that are meant to last, will last. All of your college friends have helped to shape the person you are when you walk across that stage. It is easy to take some of these people for granted. Maybe you haven’t to your freshman year friends in three years; they still shaped you. Maybe you haven’t thought about how much you’re going to miss your coworkers; but you will miss them. In this hectic time I think it is important to take a step back and acknowledge all of these people. Thank you for helping me, for hurting me, for loving me, and for making me who I am today.