“Congratulations! You have been accepted!”
The five words I have been waiting to hear since junior year of high school. I was actually good enough to get accepted into a college. While one chapter of my life was ending, a new one was beginning. I was proud of myself, I made my family proud.
I graduated in June of 2016, and that summer turned into one I will never forget. Every day brought something new. But in the back of mind, I knew that the summer couldn’t last forever. I would have to leave my hometown and say goodbye to my high school friends that I have known for years. Even worse, I would finally live away from my family – something I have never experienced before. This was difficult due to the fact that I dealt with social anxiety. Knowing I would have to put myself out there and converse with brand new people was nerve-wracking for me.
Before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye to my best friends and my family. It was time to move into a college dorm and have a true college experience.
Unlike most people who normally have 2 – 4 people as roommates – I had seven in one room. A room filled with seven different personalities. An honors business major, an outsider, a partier, a girl from the country, a dancer, a motivated social butterfly, and then there was me. Not one person in the room had a similar personality. We were all different; different backgrounds, different ages, and different majors. But we made it work.
Every night in the room, each of the girls had friends coming in and out. Rarely was there a time when it was just us in the room, so the privacy was very limited. I would sit on my bed in the corner each night and just observe everything going on because I was too shy to put myself out there. It felt weird for the first couple of days but then they let me in. When people would come into the room, the girls would invite me over to the other side, if this didn’t happen, their friends would spark up a conversation. Everyone made me feel welcomed, they made me feel like I belonged.
Throughout my freshman year, I became best friends with these girls along with other people from campus. I was so excited for what was to come.
The summer of 2017 going into my sophomore year everything was changing. Some of the girls from the room were graduating and some decided to leave mercy. This left just me and one other roommate, Nicoll, on campus. Though me and Nicoll were not dorming together, I knew if I needed her she would be there, along with the other friends I’d made outside of my dorm.
But I was still terrified. The roommates from my freshman year were so welcoming, what if my new roommates were not? I felt like I had to start all over again. The first day we moved in, all of my doubts flew out the window. The first girl I met was Maya, my actual roommate. One conversation with her and all of my anxiety was gone. I felt like I belonged yet again. It was refreshing. Then came the other girls who were all so sweet.
These new roommates became my best friends. The core five of us remained roommates throughout the rest of my college experience. The group grew and got stronger throughout my sophomore year. The more we learned about each other, the closer we got. They opened me up to new things. I never used to go to parties in high school or even during my freshman year of college, but one day they told me to come with them. Although I was hesitant to go, it was the best experience I ever had. We were dancing and drinking all night. The best part was talking about everything that happened the morning after. After that party, I knew our friendship was something real; we looked out for each other.
Junior year was the same thing, but this time we had four more girls added to our group. Every day, we had our friends from all over come in and visit us. Every night, we would all be together listening to music, talking, doing homework – it didn’t matter what we were doing, we all just loved being together. We were inseparable. Every time one felt pain, we all felt it. We have been through so much together. These girls gave me the confidence to do anything I want. Every decision I made, they would support me. Even if they didn’t, they would tell me why and try to steer me in the right direction.
Without these girls, I would not have the confidence I have now. I would not be the young woman I am. They helped me grow in ways that I could have never imagined. I am not afraid to be myself anymore. I’m not scared of opening up new doors. I am not afraid of anything that gets in my way because they helped me to be strong. I will forever be grateful. My friends have turned into my sisters.
Though senior year was a little different, the friendships never changed. Unfortunately, our journey has been cut short. I know I can count on them forever though.
College is what you make it. It’s who you surround yourself with. Of course the grades and the degree matter, but it’s the experience that matters most. It shapes you into who you will be throughout your adult life.
Make sure you’re experiencing it with the right people, I know I did.