To The Class Of 2022, Don't Forget To Thank Your Family

To The Class Of 2022, Don't Forget To Thank Your Family

While you're excited to finally get out of the house and into college, remember to thank the people who helped you get there.

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Yes!

You're finally free from the confines of your hometown. You don't have to travel the same roads, go to the same hang-out spots, or see everyone that you know. You will finally be a part of a greater community of diverse and determined people that want to achieve the same goals that you're reaching for.

But wait a minute. Before you jump off the boat, you should turn around.

Who is there standing behind you?

Who are the people who have shown you relentless support (financially, emotionally, etc.) and picked you up when you were down?

That's right. Your family.

Without them, you probably wouldn't even be going to college. You wouldn't be given the freedom to experience collegiate life and meet new people to network with... Or even make those lifelong friends.

These people are giving you the ability to mature, flourish, and learn. Sure, there will be nights where you'll avoid doing any of that. You'll go out on the town with your friends, perhaps go drinking, and wake up on the floor of your dorm room or apartment, wondering where the time went. But that's all a part of the experience. (As long as you don't participate in that too often.)

You're there to improve yourself, learn about yourself, and find your passions. Never forget that. There's enough life left in all of us to party on the weekends, but never put that before your work. You have people rooting for you to succeed and to make sure you don't fall behind on the thing you wanted to do the most.

There are people guiding you to greatness and you cannot ignore it. Your parents might be working overtime, two jobs, or more than that, just to help you pay for the costs of higher education. If you have siblings, they probably sacrificed a lot for them, too (or will sacrifice a lot for them).

These are the people who will continue to care for you as college drains your assets. These are the people who will send you money when you have none or care packages when you're feeling homesick and broke. They'll forever be by your side, especially through college, as things get harder and harder. Your family will pick up the phone during your breakdowns (that you definitely will have, no matter your major), build you up when your grades aren't reflecting your hard work, and keep you sane until the end.

You owe a lot to the people who helped you get this far and who will be there when you surpass this stage in your life. You'll regret it if you forget to thank these people. Let them know what they mean to you before you wave to their car as they drive away. Let them know that you appreciate them.

Family is forever and never take that for granted.

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A Letter To My Angel, Amanda

Rest Easy Angel 11.07.18

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Amanda,

Your death has been the hardest thing for me to accept because every day I knew you, you were so full of life. You were radiant. Your presence lit up every room you walked into and your infectious laugh filled it. You cared for everyone and put others before yourself. You were one of my first forever friends.

You accepted and loved me for everything I was and everything I was not. You kept me company whether we were sitting in my basement doing nothing at all or spending the day in New York City. You were constantly making me laugh and were always there for me.

I scroll through my camera roll and your Facebook all the time and there are so many random pictures of us that I can't place, that I can't explain, but they're my favorite pictures because they remind me that we have so many memories together that it's impossible to remember them all.

But every time I think of you I'm overwhelmed with seas of memories that I can remember every moment of. Do you remember when we went to your farmhouse for the weekend and spent hours melting crayons with a hair dryer to make our own board? Well, that picture ended up being my Dads background for about 6 years, I still can't tell you why.

Or the day I found out I was moving back to California and you held me while I ugly-cried and told me that we would be friends no matter how far apart we were because you knew that was my biggest fear? And then moving day when you came over and drew notes in sharpie over all of my boxes and we made a mattress slide?

I have countless memories that include you that I'll cherish forever, from playing Just Dance with you in the basement to sharing our 13th birthday party.

These past two months I've been full of anger. I've been angry at the world for taking you and angry at myself for letting life and distance get in the way. I'll probably hold a piece of that anger for the rest of my life but I'll also hold eternal appreciation and admiration for you.

I want to tell you that I appreciate that you were always there for me when I needed someone. I appreciate that you could make me laugh until I couldn't breathe even on my worst days. I appreciate that you accepted me for all my flaws and never expected perfection. I appreciate that you were always supportive and encouraging and most of all I appreciate that you were the most amazing friend.

I want you to know that I admire your strength. I admire how you were always able to find the good in everything and see the best in everyone. I admire how selfless you were, always putting others before yourself. I admired how nonjudgmental you were, you always gave the best advice. I admire how hard headed you could be, never giving up until you reached your goal but more importantly I admired you for being you.

Remembering you is so easy, it's having to miss you that's so hard. My life is better because you were a part of it and I'm far from the only one. There is an army of people that miss you every day that will carry a piece of you forever. Rest easy, angel.

I love you.

Shea.

You are forever in our hearts. 

Amanda Aujero

"Amanda was one of my only friends starting high school and was there with me through family dinners, sleepovers, breakups, SAT's, and graduation. She was a light and such a beautiful person. We laughed so hard together that we would pee our pants. I miss her like crazy and plan on visiting her and talking to her for the rest of my life. She taught me to live with no regrets." -Mary Skrzypczak

"One thing I loved about Amanda was that she had such an open-mindedness I could tell her anything with no judgements." -Avery Zulauf

"My favorite memory of Amanda is us driving down the main road in LBI and laughing our asses off. I have known Amanda for years but her last 2 1/2 years on earth, I feel as if we got the closer we had ever been and I'm internally grateful for that. I love you Amanda." -Catie Keating

"There's a billion amazing words I could use that perfectly describe Amanda, but the one that I think differentiates her from most people is "real". She was real. That girl was truly one of a kind; irreplaceable. I knew from a young age when we became friends in elementary school that I could lose all of my friends but if I only had her I would be okay. It even felt that way at times but she and I were happy having just each other. One of my favorite memories with her was when I moved to Florida to start my freshmen year in high school. We were both upset we weren't experiencing high school together and we promised that we would never stop being best friends. I was scared starting at a school in a new state and not knowing anyone, and you know what Amanda did? For the first week or so before I made friends she would FaceTime me at lunch everyday so I wouldn't eat alone. Now that's true friendship right there. When I moved back it was like I never left. I always thought of her as a sister who just happened to be my best friend too. If you learn one thing from this it's that everyone should have an Amanda in their life. And if you don't, then don't settle because if you have that relationship with someone it outweighs having hundreds of friends. Having that special relationship with someone regardless if you're both here or not will never die. It lives on and it's something that I will cherish forever." -Selena Gonzalez

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Here's How To Survive Having A Fallout With A Close Friend

Not everyone is meant to be in your life, and everything happens for a reason.

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We have all lost friends, for many different reasons. Sometimes we move away, other times you simply just don't get along anymore. Whatever the case may be, it is okay, and remember everything happens for a reason.

It always sucks when you have a falling out with a close friend. So many emotions and thoughts play into it, like "Where did I go wrong," "Why are they doing this to me," and worst of all, the feeling of guilt. You may want to fix and mend the broken parts of the relationship, but it may be best to just leave it alone for your own sanity.

It is okay to try and reach out a time or two, but it is probably best to leave it be if you are not receiving a response back.

If the other person is not responding, it is clear they do not want to make amends or are not ready to make amends, especially if you have attempted reaching out more than once.

It sucks even more when the person you fell off with has mutual friends with you. It is hard to totally erase the hurt when your friends are hanging out with the person who hurt you. Please remember, you cannot control the opinions your friends have of that person, and you cannot force them to not be friends with them either. That is unfair of you and in situations like these, you should always be the bigger person.

Another reason this situation may make you feel so terrible is that this person probably knows a lot about you. You probably spent a ton of time getting to know each other. However, if this person is not reaching out to you to make amends after you've tried reaching out, they probably do not care enough to spread your business around town. Whatever happened to cause this falling out has clearly allowed them to move on and with that, they most likely aren't going to want to spend any extra energy on you.

This may feel like the end of the world, but it is not.

You still have other friends and your family. You have the activities you have always loved before you were even friends with that person. And if you are taking initiative to be the bigger person, you have the peace of mind knowing that you tried to make things better with that person.

You are not a terrible person at all.

Not to be harsh, but it is time to wipe away the tears and stop the pity parties. If you had an intense falling out with a friend, it probably happened for a good reason, as I said before: everything happens for a reason. It is always best to be the bigger person in the situation and sometimes things may work out between you two.

But, remember your life never revolved around this one person. You have other endeavors to focus on. It is possible to move on. I know that sometimes losing a friend, especially if they were a best friend, can hurt worse than a breakup, but you are strong and time heals all.

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