To The College Best Friend Graduating... Without Me

To The College Best Friend Graduating... Without Me

Thanks for a remarkable four years.
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In the past four years, I have been lucky enough to find many wonderful friends at the University of Alabama and of those friends I can say that one has become my best friend. While we, unfortunately, are not graduating together I am very excited to see what he will do in the future.

Growing up I always struggled with who I wanted to be portrayed as and when I got to college I still didn't know who I wanted to be.

When I met you I realized that I didn’t need to change and anyone who wanted me to change didn’t belong in my life. It’s amazing how far we have come from just people who sat down in an information meeting at Phi Sigma Pi in 2015 to the two guys everyone sees at Phi Sigma Pi events and football games together. I know for fact I got a good one in you. The transformation is evident in our appearance but being best friends has helped me become comfortable in who I am as a person and who I aim to become.

I remember the day we met but I don’t exactly remember when we became friends.

It was either sometime towards the end of freshman year or the beginning of sophomore year. I remember meeting in Phi Sigma Pi and I remember seeing you in one of my classes but I don’t remember when we actually connected the dots or became friends. All I remember was that we were both similar and had the same interests and career goals. While this was the start of a great friendship it also led to you becoming my best friend in college. Similar to when we became friends I don’t honestly remember when we became best friends but I do remember introducing you as my best friend and always talking about you.

When I met people I would always mention you as if they knew you and when they met you they realized how important you are to me. Whether it was last year or early this year I am thankful for what has become of us. There are many great pairs known throughout history: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Spongebob and Patrick, Michael and Dwight (because you finally watched The Office), Chris Berman and Tom Jackson and of course us. It took some time for me to figure out how to put this into words without crying but in the end, I think this was the best way to tell you how much you mean to me. So as a way of being thankful for you I decided to do one of the things I am best at which is writing you a letter and using it for the Odyssey.

Ben,

Thank you for putting up with me for the past three years. While you hear me say this often I couldn’t deny how great it has been to be your friend and grow closer on what seems like a daily basis. When we spent time together there was more I learned about you whether it is how you like rainbow sprinkles because its all unique and makes ice cream taste better, your love of Patrick Murphy, your ability to make a room laugh and smile and the moments you beam when Avery Johnson is mentioned. Learning these things about you made me understand not only our friendship but also how similar we are. Thank you for being so similar to me. Having the same interests and career goals is one thing but there was never a time where I didn’t want to be anyone besides myself when I was around you and that has still been the reason to this day.

I struggled with figuring out who I wanted to be but it was through your assurance that I realized I was perfect the way I am.

I know we have our disagreements about our favorite sports teams and I might not be as knowledgeable about Marvel as you but being able to have car talks, go see Marvel movies and watch sports together have been some of my favorite activities.

You never wanted me to change and you always told me to keep living my best life.

True friends are the ones who always motivate you to become better and not criticize you. You were always available for late night talks and being my voice of reason. Thank you for always being the someone who can do both. Being able to sing “Black Beatles” with you and screaming “Get you somebody that can do both” was always one of my favorite moments at bars (next to Syrup Sandwiches) we always found a way to have fun and I know we will continue that in the future. I saw people find their best friends in college and how similar they are and I am proud enough to say I got you.

I can’t say how proud I am of you for everything you have done at this University.

Establishing yourself as a journalist and going after your passion is one of the many reasons I am excited for you. Seeing everything you did in regards to journalism and media was a reason I decided to start getting involved and finding ways to jump-start my career. You made me realize how important following a dream is and that I should never sell myself short.

This wouldn’t be a true college letter if I didn’t mention PSP and you were an inspiration for getting me involved sophomore year. Seeing everything you have done for PSP is what I continuously think about and why I think I had so much fun. Without PSP we wouldn’t be best friends and you gave back to PSP everything PSP gave to you and that’s what makes me happy.

There are so many inside jokes that we have created over the past few years and I know we will create more. Whether it has been “That’s just not what you want to see”, high ground memes, cheering for walk-ons to play, anything sports related and our constant yelling for bands to play “Wonderwall” and “Stacy’s Mom” I know I couldn’t have picked a better best friend. It's amazing to see how far we have come and how we have both grown up together the past three years. I know we will continue to grow together even if we’re in the same city or halfway across the world.

I know you are going to do big things in this world and I will be there with you every step of the way very soon.

In the words of Vin Diesel, “No matter where you are, whether it's a quarter-mile away or halfway around the world, you'll always be with me and you'll always be my brother.” Thank you so much for everything you have done and while I know you won't be with me next year you’ll always be with me when I need you most. Thanks for always being my hype man, my wingman, the person always there to cheer me up and most importantly just being you. While I can be a handful I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for all the time we spent together. This is not the end , this is the beginning and I know in a year I will be with you ready to take on the world with you.

Love,

Your best friend/partner in crime/second-in-command/that guy who always sat next to you in chapter/dance partner and hype man.

Jacob A Silberman

Cover Image Credit: Jacob Silberman

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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To My Boyfriend, As He Prepares To Graduate College

Good luck in the "real world," you can do it!

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Five weeks, excluding finals and that's it. No more classes, first-day icebreakers, Pub Wednesdays, or game days at the Pepsi Ice Skating Rink. You. Are. Done. Crazy right?

In just a blink of an eye, your four years here at Illinois State University have flown by. It's heartbreaking because I know how much you love being here with your friends, enjoying every minute of living your best life, and not worrying about "adult" responsibilities. I can see how hard it is for you to fully accept that these next couple of weeks are your last weeks here.

You look at me with those eyes every time I mention how close the graduation date is, but I can't help but express my excitement and how proud I am even though I know for a fact that my senior year won't be the same without you here. Questions like who would I grab Panda Express on a weekly basis with? What about Sunday grocery trips? Or simply calling you and having you right at my door in a matter of minutes.

It's sure going to be different not only for me but the guys too. Why? Well, there's going to be no one to make random noises or say random things. All I can say is, you have made strong friendships with people you consider your lifelong friends — ones you'll stay in contact with until the end of time. It's amazing how much of an impact you have made on your friends, peers, and me. Everyone has so many nice things to say about you. I know you're smiling and shaking your head right now, but I have videos to prove it! Thanks to your family for creating and influencing that amazing heart of yours. They really did raise such an amazing person.

I am truly lucky to witness the good times and bad times with you these past two years. Those experiences have made you who you are today. From partying every weekend to getting your grades up to becoming captain of the hockey team, then struggling to find internships, to finding one, and finally in a couple of weeks...stepping into that stadium and on that stage to receive your diploma. I have so much much faith that you'll be nothing but successful, however, YOU have to believe in yourself as well.

In just weeks, you'll be considered an alumnus. Don't be sad, be happy about all of the memories you hold in your heart — all the friendships you've made, all the games you've led and won. I'll be waving, cheering, and, most likely, crying from the stands as you walk and receive your diploma. Be proud and walk with pride.

Here's to a great four years — the end of chapter 16 and the start of a new one.

Congratulations, baby, you did it!

P.S. Don't forget to come back and visit me and the guys!

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