In high school, I swore I had the best friends. I definitely did at the time, and I am thankful for every moment and memory I made with each and every one of them. If you’re reading this- know I love you always and treasure you forever. Being from a small town, I only knew what was in the border of my one red light spot on the map- and so did everyone else.
Sadly, the phrase “friends forever” becomes less true whenever paths no longer cross and interests change, as well as zip codes. There are people who I thought I would have forever who I haven’t spoken to since high school graduation because they chose a different college, chose to enter the workforce, or we simply realized life’s obstacles were greater than our relationship. It took me a long time to realize this and to not feel guilty for lost connections. Finally, I figured out that sometimes you have to lose something you think you need to gain something that you love and that fulfills you.
I was adamant that I was not being active in college. I wanted to simply wake up, drive to campus, learn, and go home. As busy as I was with extracurriculars in high school, I needed a sense of calm and time to myself. For two years, I disliked school and was completely miserable. I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go with my future, and I had nobody who related to me and could help me on my journey.
My first semester as a communication student in the Fall of 2016 proved to me that having people in your life who understood is the most fulfilling thing of all. By my senior year, God gave me three of the greatest friends I could ever ask for.
Neil, Julia, Allison, and I were definitely cut from the same cloth. The three of us have the same concentration- organizational communication, all aspire to get our masters, and all prioritize the same aspects of our life. I have never felt more connected to, comfortable around, or empowered by another group of people. I am so thankful that I can rant to, pray with, support, and dream with the greatest friends on the planet. Thanks for the PJ’s study dates and for loving me so much that you photoshop me into group photos when I’m unable to come to dinner dates! Without our trials and triumphs together, I don’t think I would be as confident and sure of who I am today. My college experience is exemplified because of these three, and I cannot wait to continue our friendship through grad school and throughout the rest of our lives and professional careers.
Come to find out, college is more than just reading textbooks, researching on the library database, stressing about money, and being exhausted beyond repair. All of the stress and brokenness is worth it when you feel fulfilled in your relationships and networks you have built.
To the individuals who were like me- dwelling in self-pity over hardships in your educational journey, or even to those who are to shy to interact with classmates, I challenge you to find your Neil, Julia, or Allison. I promise that if you do, you will be more in love with your life than you ever though possible.
Thanks for all you do for me, pals. You make me a better Mal. Love y’all forever!