Friends are always there for you — thick and thin, day and night, without any questions asked. The gift of friendship is often overlooked or taken for granted. As you get ready to pack up and begin the next chapter of your life, it’s important to remember the people who made you the person you have become. High school was rough at times, and without my friends I wouldn’t have made it out alive.
I read all the articles I could find about things I had to do the summer before college and exercised no caution in checking off my list. I took advantage of the time I had this summer, spending it with the people who meant the most to me. I took all the pictures I could, savored all the giggles and made sure to appreciate every second I had with my friends.
I have a lot to thank my friends for. They helped me study for the hardest tests, and they let me cry on their shoulder when things got tough for me. I know I did the same for them. When I look back on my high school years, memories come flooding back of dances, sleepovers and laughing about anything and everything. I looked back at those times for inspiration to find a way to effectively sum up these friendships and properly thank them before we all moved away for college. However, each time I wrote their name on the top of the goodbye letter I wanted to write, I came up blank. How was I supposed to put 10 years of friendship into a letter? These girls were my support system. How am I going to survive without them? I thought about my new classes, my confusing new campus and the struggles I would face in a new environment, miles and miles away from my home. What was I going to do without their guidance? How am I supposed to say goodbye?
But, there just is no easy way to say goodbye. I know that much already. I searched every website I could find for a way to make these goodbyes less painful. I had given up hope and had assigned myself to be a wallflower at my new school, missing my friends and my old life at home. However, a few weeks ago, I found a quote from A. A. Milne that finally made me realize that everything was going to be OK. He wrote, “If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
In my head, I pictured each of my friends as I read it. And I realized that they were all losing big parts of their lives, too. We are strong together, and our friendship will make us stronger apart. It would be scary to say goodbye to the people we have leaned on for years, but in the end, we would always be there for each other. My friends would be at my side through every new obstacle I faced, even across the country. Just because we have different dorm rooms doesn’t meant there isn’t going to be someone I can call at any hour of the night to cry, talk or laugh with.
I realize that this chapter of my life is going to have to be one I survive without my friends from my hometown. When I move into my new home for the fall semester, I’m positive I will make new friends; as the saying goes, "one is silver and the other gold." I won’t let my old friendships hold me back from new opportunities. And still, I know that my true friends will never leave my side. College is a fresh start for everyone, and I look forward to sharing my new experiences with new people; as well as telling my friends back home about my new adventures.
As the last day together before our roads fork approaches, time seems to go faster and faster. I still can’t find a way to twist the ink in my pen into the words I want to tell my friends. It’s taken me all summer to come up with a good enough way to tell them that I love them and will miss them dearly. Since words have failed me, instead, we planned. We planned lunch dates, sleepovers, even a going away party. We exchanged college swag and planned to bring some of our favorite traditions with us to school. We took the time to look each other in the eye and say, "Thank you," and really mean it. We set up Skype dates and plan to keep in touch whatever way we can. Thanks to social media, I can always be updated on their lives.
In the end, I didn’t write a single one of them a goodbye letter. I know it’s not "goodbye." With real friends, it’s only "see you later."
Lead Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures and Borden and Rosenbush Entertainment