Created For Community

Created For Community

To my new college friends: thank you
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End of week three at college update: I am so happy to report that I am not only making friends, but I'm making some of the best friends I've ever had. I had some really great friends in high school, some truly amazing friends. But I also knew some really terrible people, some people who didn't treat me right at all. I had friends that took advantage of me, gossiped and lied about me, and friends who were there for me one day and gone the next. By the end of my senior year I was so tired of the way I was treated by the negative friendships, that I even carelessly burned bridges, and I wasn't sad about it. I was so ready to get out of the same town with the same people and my same reputation and experience something new, and college was such a breath of fresh air.

To my new college friends: Thank you for coming at just the right time. Thank you for coming before I hit the breaking point. You guys accept me and all my baggage with unconditional love, understanding, and support. You don't have anything but nice things to say about me, and about each other. You're there to eat every meal with me and hear all my stories from back home. You embrace my obsessions and think my quirks are funny. You don't judge me if I want to sit this frat party out, or if I'm hitting the quan at Kappa Sigma. Thank you for being a part of this community I am wanting to create here at school.

You know you've found your community when you feel right at home doing anything and everything. When you know that someone always has your back, and will always run across campus when you send an "SOS" text. When you push each other to be better, try harder, and work more towards their goals, and are genuinely happy for each others fortunes and accomplishments.

It feels good to be wanted, to be known, and to be loved. It feels right to be in the midst of those who you love and those who love you because we were created for community. We were created to be one with each other, to live with each other, and to learn from each other. Some like to think of the community as the safety net under a tight rope, there to catch you when you fall, and to keep you confident in your efforts. I like to think of community as the tightrope itself, in that you can't learn the ropes and you can't move forward without it.

If you're immersing in a new community over the next few weeks, embrace that, be excited, and find the people out there for truly value you for who you are. Don't settle for anything less than the community you were created for, because the people who love you and treat you right are out there! Find your tribe and love them hard.

Cover Image Credit: Becca Colehower

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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You May Not Have Time To Keep Up With High School Friends In College And TBH? That's OK

Even though it may sound like we don't care enough to make time for each other or weren't really best friends if we could be in the same place and still "drift" like that, I think it's safe to say that it's been a nice change of pace for our friendship.

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I usually count down the days until the weekend, but this past week I was looking forward to Friday a little extra. It was probably the most anticipation I've felt towards anything since move-in day. Friday was when my three best friends from high school were visiting me. Two of them go to different schools hours away, and the other is at Rutgers with me, but this would be the first time that the four of us, inseparable for the past four years, would be reunited after parting ways at the end of summer.

Spending time with my old friends and the new friends I've made here all together got me thinking about the relationships in my life before and after starting college. I come from a high school where over half the graduating class comes to Rutgers New Brunswick, so I was expecting college to be like high school 2.0. But since I've been here, I've realized that I was way off with that assumption. It's a nice balance of walking down the street and having a quick conversation with a familiar face, but also being able to form a completely new group of friends, separate from my high school ones.

This first month of college has taught me that the high school friends who are far away at other schools are easy to keep, whether it be an occasional FaceTime call or "I miss you" text. It's the old friends here, who I thought I'd be hanging with all the time, that have proven harder to stay in touch with. No matter how much we attempt to make plans or link up during our busy weeks, our time demands to be spent elsewhere. I barely have time to catch a meal in the dining hall between classes, studying, clubs, and building new friendships, let alone hanging out with old friends.

Take my one best friend who I saw on Friday, for example. This girl and I grew up a few doors down from each other, went to the same school, were co-captains of the same team, had all the same friends, and have basically been inseparable our entire lives. Now here we are at Rutgers where she's dorming on Livi, and I'm living on College Ave. We have conflicting schedules and completely separate circles of friends for the first time in our lives. In fact, it took our other friends coming from hours away to visit us for us to bring together our separate friend groups and hang out altogether on Friday night.

Even though it may sound like we don't care enough to make time for each other or weren't really best friends if we could be in the same place and still "drift" like that, I think it's safe to say that it's been a nice change of pace for our friendship. It's important to take a step back from these people we once felt so close to, and realize that it's OK to not be in each other's lives at all times. There's no use putting pressure on spending time with the people who have been in our lives forever when there is an entire university of people in front of us to meet.

This first month of college I've grown so close to a new group of people who I now feel like I've known my whole life. I've realized how hard it is to balance time for these new friends along with old ones, but that that's OK. We are all stressed in our crazy, hectic lives, and that's only gonna be increasingly true as we move farther and farther away from high school. That doesn't mean we should let go of high school altogether, but instead, we should make sure we have time to embrace all the new and exciting aspects of our lives. It's so important to enjoy the little things, like the new friends you sit around talking with at 4 a.m., just as much as the bigger ones like weekend visits from your best friends.

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