Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Finding My Family At JSU Was Way Easier Than I Imagined

Sometimes the people we need most are the ones we least expect.

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jre
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In the summer of 2018, I became a freshman at Jacksonville State University. Since I grew up in Jacksonville, AL I had been planning my college career to take place right in my hometown. Therefore I truly believed that finding a close net 'family' or just a support system, in general, could only be provided by joining a sorority, the student government association, or being a southerner. Which I, personally, did not have the appeal for any one of these.

As the semester grew closer my father, who was an advisor for the Student Alumni Association, asked if I could work their booth for them at summer orientation. I knew from the beginning of my freshman year that I would be a member of SAA, it was just a question on if I would fit in. I volunteered for 9/10 of these orientations and, although I had only met one member during them I already got closer and closer to the group.

Our first meeting was called "Taco Tuesday", where we cooked tacos and got to sit around and talk to each other. This is where I became very close to my current best friend Victoria Clements. We had met several times on different occasions, however, the Student Alumni Association brought us closer together and I will always be grateful for that.

The further on we had different meetings, new icebreakers, and new conversations with people I never knew I would be so connected with. Soon the semester continued to our "ambassador interviews", a 3-day process to select an elite group to represent Jacksonville State University's Alumni Association.

During this process, we had a night dedicated to 'group interviews'. This was where all pre-selected ambassadors and auditioning ambassadors meet to play different strategy games and bond together. After this event, the whole ambassador group, old and new, became much closer and more dedicated to each other.

My point in saying all this is that no one knows where and who the future might take us. Some of the best people I know I met due to SAA, there are more options for people that want a close net family that doesn't want to be in greek life.

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An Open Letter To My Unexpected Best Friend

You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better.
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“It’s so amazing when someone comes to your life and you expect nothing out of it but suddenly there right in front of you is everything you ever need.”

-Unknown

Dear Unexpected Best Friend,

You were the person I never thought I would speak to and now you are my very best friend. You came out of nowhere and changed my life for the better. I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done to shape me into the person I am today. You’ve taught me what it means to be selfless, caring, patient, and more importantly adventurous.

You don’t realize how much better my life has become and all because you came out of nowhere. I didn’t see you coming. I just saw you on occasion, and now I can’t see my life without you in it. It’s funny how life works itself out like that. Our unexpected friendship filled a hole in my life that I didn’t know existed.

I don’t even remember what life was like before you came along; it most likely had a lot less laughter and spontaneity than it does today. I can call you about anything and you would drop whatever you're doing to help me in any situation. You know when I need encouragement. You know when I am at my best and when I am at my worst. You always know exactly what to say.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

I couldn’t have found a better friend than you if I tried. We balance each other out in the best way possible. You are most definitely the ying to my yang, and I don’t care how cliché that sounds. Because of you, I’ve learned to stop caring what people think and to do my own thing regardless of any backlash I might receive. You are my very favorite part of what makes me who I am to this day.

It’s as if I wished up a best friend, and poof—you appeared right in front of me. I am so beyond blessed to have you and I wouldn’t trade the world for all our memories. Thanks for coming out of nowhere.

Love you forever and a day.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Medders

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5 Things I Want My Orange Hall Ladies To Know

I absolutely love living in my on-campus apartment, but it is in the same building as pod-style rooms with so many freshmen. These are five things I would love for all the girls that live on my floor to know.

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Living in a dorm is always a mess. There are so many people, lots of hormones, a lot of drama, and so many roommate issues. Your first year in college it can also be an amazing resource for friendships and learning about campus. However, it takes a different turn when you are sophomore living in one of eight apartments in a majoritively first-year, female dorm.

To all my lovely ladies in Orange Hall, here is what I want you to know.

First of all, I know I always look exhausted and a little angry, I promise I am exhausted, but I'm not angry! I adore all of you so much and will take time out of my day to talk to you and make sure you are doing OK, no matter how stressed and mad I look.

Second, it is OK to not adore your roommate as long as you are being kind. We all struggle. It doesn't matter if your roommate is random or your best friend, the rooms are small and you will never agree on everything. Just remember to be kind, patient, and attempt to love your roommate as much as you can — life is hard for everyone in college, roommates shouldn't make it worse.

Third, go to floor events and get to know all the building RAs, Hall Director, and Assistant Hall Director! In Orange especially we are so lucky. Our resident assistants plan such fun events and will go out their way to get to know us. Plus our HD and AHD have office hours often and make sure they're accessible if we have any questions, not to mention that they are hilarious and great to talk to. Just get to know the people that are paid to be around to help you through one of the hardest years of your life!

Four, talk to us "oldies"! There are a lot of sophomores and juniors living in Orange right now and we will share our wisdom with you. We already spent time crying over relationships, trying to navigate classes, and making bad choices — let us help you with the things you are going through!

The last thing is to remember all of us are in college. We are on our own, kind of adults, but not really, and trying to figure things out. All of your feelings are valid and need to be handled well. All of our classes are difficult and we all have so much to do we want to cry. Be overwhelmingly kind and patient, clean up after yourself, validate everyone's opinions, and keep your focus on school, not all the other little things happening in life.

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