Truth be told, I was terrified to leave for school. And I know, I’m only 20 minutes away from home but I certainly do not want to be that person that comes home all the time. I’m scared I’m going to leave for school and home isn’t going to be home anymore.

I spent a lot of high school in different friend groups. Don’t get me wrong, I had friends throughout high school so it’s not one of those situations where I say I had no friends when I did. However, I never felt really comfortable and welcomed, as if that’s where I really belonged. I bounced around depending on who I was close to at the time or what I was doing. It took until my senior year where I felt I had a place, one that was valued within friend groups.

I was in one of those situations where I could walk into the choir room during the time of the musical, and I’d get four or five cheerful hellos. I had a solid friend group in band where we hung out all time, and I was actually invited. Because that was the thing; in the other years I had best friends and I had other friends, but when it came to group plans, I was never invited. Looking back, it sucked that it took that long to just feel like I did belong. I was grateful for what I did have, but it still felt like something was missing.

So leaving for school, I’m afraid it could possibly take that long again. That I won’t find my niche. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try. Of course, I’ll join clubs and find people with similar interests. I know I can’t just sit around and wait for good relationships to be made.

I don’t doubt that I can develop friendships like the solid ones I’ve had in the past, but they are not the same people. The people I’ll meet at school will come from so many more backgrounds and places across the United States, or even the world, than I can imagine. With meeting new people and being in a new location, I’m bound to change and grow. Because of that, I need proper goodbyes.

A lot of my friends didn’t understand why I wanted goodbyes since I’m so close. I’ve had a lot of friends tell me it’s not a goodbye but a “see you later.” As much as it is a "see you later" to the physical person, it might be a real goodbye to the relationship. I don’t know if I’ll be and the relationships I leave will be the same when I come back. Saying goodbye is this buffer I have because I don’t want to take these friendships for granted; I don’t want it to not be the same and I completely wasted it. I do not want to be like “yeah, I’ll just see you later” then realize maybe these aren’t relationships I need to keep anymore. I don’t mean to make this sad, depressing, or dark but rather realistic. It happens to plenty of people at college where they realize that high school friendships are not worth the effort to keep. I just want good goodbyes with the people that mean something to me.

When I went to go pay for my term bill, I realized how much I actually knew. Then, I went and found my dorm and realized how conveniently it’s located between two bus stops. Finally, I got my schedule. And as much as I am stressed and anxious about textbooks and workload, I realized that this will be my home and I’m excited for what opportunities it will bring. Yes, I’ll miss my friends from home but I’m excited for the new friends God is going to bring into my life.

To my friends who made high school easier for me, thank you for being a positive addition in my life and giving me the best memories I have of high school.

To the friends that are moving on as well, we’ve had a great run, so go make new stories, and I’ll see you at Thanksgiving.

And lastly, to the friends I’m leaving behind, most you of have one more year just push through. I’m only a 21 drive, phone call, text or FaceTime away. So thank you, guys.