Typically, the college experience is a time of first occurrences. For many, it is the first time they are off on their own, away from their parents. It is a time of maturing, and a time of finding oneself. Most incoming college students don't realize how much their surrounding environments, whether it be a roommate, living arrangement, or friend group; may influence their college experience. Unfortunately, when you think of college, you don't exactly think of luxurious living quarters and extravagant amenities. You do, however, think of cramped dorm rooms, community bathrooms, and poor food options. Though these undesirable aspects are almost inevitable, it does not mean that your entire college experience will be completely unpleasant.



Four semesters, seven roommates and a pseudo roommate into my college career, I was fortunate enough to find the surrounding environment that would get me through one of the most trying years of my education. I was fortunate enough to find my Ivy League. My junior year of college, I moved into a new apartment - Ivy Hall, apartment 5103. It was a relatively nice apartment for a college campus; four individual bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen with a dishwasher, and a living room equipped with a couch, a coffee table and two armchairs. Sure, it wasn't the five star living I was hoping for, but it was much nicer than the dorms I had lived in previously. This apartment, however, was more than just a place to sleep at night. This apartment quickly became my home, and its residents my family.



My first roommate, Carson, really was something special. You would never guess that he and I had only known each other for a few months when we moved in together; our friendship seemed centuries old. Just months into our friendship, we were going on vacations together and attending each other's family parties. We had that sort of "I'm poor right now, so you buy lunch today" relationship, which was also very "I bought this because it reminded me of you." From the very first day we met, he went above and beyond, doing things for me that my long-time friends didn't even do. Whether it was a quick pick-me-up during a late night study session, or a little drive to get my mind off of things, he was always there to catch me when I was falling. As far as friends go, Carson was my soulmate. He is the definition of a true friend. The list that I could thank him for is endless and I am forever grateful that he walked into my life.



My second roommate, Jess, was the "college mom" that our apartment so desperately needed. She was always there with a helping hand and some motherly advice to get us through whatever was troubling us that day. Throughout our time together, Jess helped me with everything from resumes, to boy problems, to making sure I was eating a healthy meal when my schedule made me forget to do it on my own. In our apartment, the phrase "I'm sorry I'm trash, I'll do it later" was beyond overused, but Jess always made sure it got done. I know I speak for the entire Ivy League when I say that, all of those times that she replaced the paper towels, loaded the dishwasher, or took out the trash did not go unnoticed. Jess truly was the backbone that kept our little family together, and we couldn't have done any of it without her.



My third roommate, Rocio, was the sister that I never wanted, but was so lucky to have found. When we first moved in together, we did not know each other very well, but I was optimistic about the future of our friendship. It wasn't long before we had formed a bond like no other. Rocio had become the person that I knew I could be myself around, and the part of my day that I looked forward to. When I had my life together, she was always ready for a study session. When I was trying to get my life together, she was always ready with a motivational speech (or Netflix, Chipotle and a nap). I could always count on her to walk me to class (usually because we were both running late), grab coffee with me between classes, or stay up with me all night listening to me complain about how I've ruined my own life by partying instead of doing my homework. I'm so thankful to have had her as a roommate, a friend, and a role model.



Now, the semester has come to an end and so has our time living together. They say that, for some, college is a home away from home; I never expected mine to come with a soulmate, a second mother and the sister that I never knew I needed. I can never thank you all enough for being my family and keeping me sane these past few months. Just know that, without you guys, my life is in shambles and I miss the Ivy League more than you could know. Each one of you has impacted my life in a way that I couldn't even begin to explain, so here is my long overdue thank you for literally everything. I love you all and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.



Sometimes, life sends you blessings in disguise. I've learned that, when this happens, you don't question it- you simply accept that you were lucky enough to have them and do your very best to share the wealth. The Ivy League was my blessing. There's no one else I'd rather have shared cramped dorm rooms, poorly flushing toilets and chip crumb covered carpets with. If you don't have one yet, go out and find yourself your very own Ivy League- you don't know what you're missing.