When I first came to Muncie for my first year of college, I was leaving a life I loved very much. Having spent the last fifteen years of my life in Indianapolis, I’d grown accustomed to the city and the people in it. My best friends had gone to the same middle school and eventually high school but now we were splitting up for college. Nothing was ever going to be as simple as it was when we were sixteen. I’d always had my best friends around for everything. Our high school was this tiny charter school near downtown Indy. We’d had the same friends, went to the same parties, and filled our free time and weekends with things and places you could only find in Indy.

When I got to Muncie, I was remember being very resigned to the fact that my best friends wouldn’t be here to experience this new chapter with me. I also remember having very low expectations when it came to new friends. I already had best friends back home, I didn’t really think that I’d meet anyone, nor did it occur to me that I would need anyone. By the end of my first week on campus I began to realize just how wrong I was.

For example, the first night we went out - my first time going out in college, I met Mary through a mutual friend. I’m not sure how, but we survived that night, a couple of freshman trekking around campus heels and all. I'm pretty sure we couldn’t have done it without her. Now, a year later, we still joke about that night, referring to welcome week as our “friendaversery.”

My first semester on campus wasn’t easy, dorm life especially was rough on me. From roommate disputes to the general “ick” factor, It didn’t take long for me to outgrow living on campus, however I wouldn’t trade the year I spent in LaFollette because it was there that I met some of my favorite people at Ball State. Having people who I trusted living on the same floor helped me to get through some of the hardest moments of my freshman year.

I could go on an on, telling you how i’ve met each and every one of the close friends I have on campus, believe me the stories are pretty entertaining. But I have a point to make. When you leave home, leave your family and your best friends, you will miss them, you will wish that they could be with you every step of the way, to experience everything alongside you. But what I’ve found is that my relationships with some of my oldest and closest friends have grown stronger as we put in the effort constantly keep in touch. When I call my best friends, I’ve found that I value the conversations we have even more. Remember, what really makes your college experience is the people. This semester has been tumultuous to say the least, but i’ve never been more thankful for the crowd of people I’ve kept from my first year.