My BFFs Supported Me When I First Came Out And It Meant More Than They'll Ever Know

My BFFs Supported Me When I First Came Out And It Meant More Than They'll Ever Know

I never got to thank you or tell you how much you helped me, but I think about your love and support every day.

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Growing up, graduating college, and becoming my own person has given me a lot of time to self-reflect. I've been able to think about who I was, who I became, and who I want to be. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the people, good and bad, who have made me who I am. So much of what makes me me is a result of the love I've received from the important people in my life. Two of those people being my best friends from the ages of 15-basically now.

I met Brittney and Danielle my freshman year of high school. We clicked instantly and formed a bond that not even college (and now grad school, a new state, a new marriage, and a new job) could break. We went to every football game together, had sleep overs, went shopping, drank countless amounts of Starbucks and Wakezone (shout of to my Apex, NC peeps!), and shared so much about our lives with each other. We talked about school, ex-friends, our parents, the future, and of course: boys. Lucky for me, I was able to participate in all of these conversations. But towards the end of my junior year of high school, I had a new topic of conversation that I desperately needed to talk about but was so nervous to even bring it up.

I started coming to terms with my sexuality during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school. Although I didn't have everything figured out, I knew I liked girls and I knew I wanted to share this with my best friends. As I was talking to a girl that would soon become my girlfriend, I knew I couldn't keep hiding this part of my life. I eventually came out to my parents and then I knew that the second most important people that should know would be Britt and Dani.

All three of us were involved in YoungLife during high school. If you're not familiar with YL, its basically a nondenominational Christian organization. There were club meetings all through out the week and me and my friends went religiously (ha-ha, see what I did there?). The week after my first girlfriend and I started officially dating, I knew it was time. Brittney, Danielle, and I got to club early to help set up and then we had a little bit of free time until others started showing up. I told them I wanted to go outside and talk to them about something. Judging by the looks on their faces, I think they thought I was about to tell them I had cancer or something. In that moment, cancer seemed a little better than coming out. But nonetheless, the words "I like girls" blurted out of my mouth shortly followed by "and I have a girlfriend now."

I remember looking at the pavement and refusing to make eye contact with them. It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest and that I was going to vomit, shit my pants, or both. But before I knew it, I heard one of them say, "C! We still love you and we don't care who you're dating as long as they treat you right!" I looked up and saw my two best friends smiling at me. They reassured me that they loved and supported me no matter what. They asked me questions about how my family reacted and about my new girlfriend. They said they wanted to meet her and that they were happy that I was happy.

It was such a small moment and looking back, the whole conversation probably only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was such an impactful 10 minutes for me. My best friends were still my best friends. My best friends still loved me, they were happy for me, and they wanted to meet my new girlfriend. They probably have no idea how much it meant to me that they accepted me. But for 16 year old me, it meant the entire world.

Brittney and Danielle, thank you. Thank you for loving me regardless of my sexuality and who I dated, thank you for sticking by my side as I had to brave high school with a new identity, thank you for showing an interest in who I was dating even if it might have been hard for you, and thank you for not leaving my side since. Your friendship is one that I cherish so much and I am so lucky to have your support. BCD forever!

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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No UNC Residence Hall Is The Same, So I've Provided Pros And Cons For The Top 5 First-Year Halls

Did yours make the cut?

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Residence halls are a big (and sometimes dreaded) part of the first-year experience at UNC-Chapel Hill. Honestly, though, life in the residence halls is nothing to dread. It's not perfect, but it can definitely be fun.

Beyond the convenient proximity of other first-years in the different residence halls, your social life may also benefit from UNC Housing's many community events. You get a lot of community support, too—your RA, your suite-/hallmates, your community director, and hopefully your roommate.

What about the buildings themselves, though? They're definitely not all the same. The following is a definitive list of the best five residence halls for first-years on UNC's campus.

5. Craige

http://reslife.web.unc.edu/2015/06/01/the-view-from-craige/

Pros: This residence hall is suite-style, which means there are four double rooms (i.e. eight residents per suite) and one bathroom—arguably better than sharing a larger bathroom with 20 more residents in a hall-style dorm. More privacy, a better chance of bonding with those seven other students, etc.. If you're interested in UNC basketball (and you should be, honestly), you'll be happy to know this residence hall is right up the road from the Dean Smith Center. It's also nestled into a quaint little grove of trees, which is cute.

Cons: This residence hall is (somewhat affectionately) known as Crusty Craige, and not without reason (according to previous residents). While it is in a nice location, it's still a good trek from main campus—the hill from Craige up to Manning is killer on one side, and that's just the beginning of the walk. Since the residence hall is only six floors high (and is mostly surrounded by short trees), the view isn't as impressive as that of, say, Hinton James' balconies.

4. Lewis

https://conferences.unc.edu/lodging/residence-halls/lewis-residence-hall/

Coming in at number four, Lewis is the only residence hall on this list that isn't located on South Campus.

Pros: This building does have laundry facilities, unlike some of the other residence halls on North Campus. Also, it is a remarkable one-minute walk from the student union and Davis Library, meaning you aren't nearly as likely to get lost during your first week (at least, on your way to the Pit—class buildings are a whole other story). I cannot stress this enough: it is super convenient to live so close to main campus.

Cons: You miss out on the first-year experience of living on South Campus, where most first-years begin their UNC journey. Also, there are typically less than 100 other residents in Lewis, which limits the number of people with whom you can bond during your first year (when you'll likely be the most focused on building your college network). That also means less RAs and smaller hall events. Also, it's a hall-style residence hall (this is a debatable con, though, since some people would definitely prefer hall-style over suite-style).

3. Koury

https://unc.freshu.io/melissa-cordell-751/best-freshmen-dorm-to-live-in

Pros: Koury is pretty close to the SASB buildings, which are full of great resources for first-years (namely the Learning and Writing Centers, where you can receive free tutoring, academic coaching, and feedback on your essays). There are internal suites, which means that only three other residents will be sharing a bathroom with you. This means you can furnish the bathroom with whatever rugs or trash cans you prefer, and you have a lot more privacy than in other residence halls, as far as the bathroom goes.

Cons: Since the bathroom is between the two double bedrooms, you have to clean the bathroom yourself, as well as provide your own toilet paper—the flip side of enhanced privacy is that you don't get custodial services. Also, with the internal suites, sometimes it can be more difficult to socialize with other people on the hall (although your RA is there to solve that problem!). Lastly, if you walk out of your room and forget your key, you're locked out—the door locks automatically upon shutting.

2. Hinton James

https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2017/07/hinton-james-leaves-a-legend-and-a-legacy-in-uncs-most-populated-dorm

Maybe I'm biased—Hojo was my own first-year res hall. I'm sure someone will fight me on this, but I really enjoyed living there.

Pros: There are tons of people, which means there's a good chance you'll find some friends near your room. It's a suite-style dorm, so obviously, the suite-style advantages of Craige apply here as well. Also, there is a package center located on the first floor, so you don't have to trek to some other residence hall to pick up your latest Amazon orders. There's a huge staff of really fun RAs, which means there's always someone around with whom you can talk about any problems or concerns you may have. The view from the balconies isn't bad, either.

Cons: I encountered a roach once. Also, again, there are a lot of people in Hojo, so sometimes it's kind of loud. Not ideal if you prefer studying (or sleeping) in total silence. Lastly—and perhaps most annoyingly—this is the furthest residence hall from main campus (and therefore your classes). It's about a fifteen-minute walk to the Pit...doable, but aggravating after a while. On the bright side, it's close to several bus stops.

1. The Winner: Ehringhaus

http://reslife.web.unc.edu/2015/06/23/the-view-from-ehringhaus/

This residence hall is right behind Koury, so a lot of the location-based advantages/disadvantages still apply.

Pros: There's a bus stop literally right out front, there aren't a ridiculous number of residents (so it isn't super loud or anything), and it's suite-style. As if that isn't enough, you only have to cross the road once outside the residence hall if you're walking to class (and trust me, crossing Manning/Skipper Bowles/Ridge is a whole experience). Additionally, this residence hall is one of the closest to Subway and Rams Market.

Cons: The pronunciation isn't always agreed upon by incoming students (but by all accounts I've heard, it's pronounced like "Air-ing-house," you're welcome). Also, it's kind of far from class buildings (like a 12-minute walk from the Pit).

Really, the cons aren't bad at all. This residence hall offers all of the community excitement of Hinton James but is slightly calmer and closer to main campus. That, coupled with the fulfillment of the crucial first-year experience of living on south campus, puts Ehringhaus at number one in my book.

I think the south campus residence halls are inherently better than the north campus ones just because the daily 15-minute trek to class is practically a rite of passage for UNC first-years. That said, all of the residence halls have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and you can have an awesome first year no matter where you live.

For more information on each residence hall, I'd recommend scouring https://housing.unc.edu/housing/residence-halls. Welcome to UNC, kiddos!

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