It sucks having a best friend older than you. Like really freaking sucks. And while it is awesome and inspiring to get to watch her grow and experience a different phase of life than me, sometimes I can't help but wish that we were in the same phase, experiencing it all together.
This week I had to watch one of my very best friends pull out of Dartmouth in a large truck packed full of all her belongings while I stood and waved with tears streaking down my cheeks. Although she graduated from Dartmouth in June, she stuck around this summer. And I can't imagine going through Sophomore Summer without her here. But now she left, and I am sitting in my dorm room wondering what the next two years will be like without her.
Lakin was the first friend I had at college. She took me under her wing and refused to let me jump without a parachute. While being a lost freshman is sometimes inevitable, she disregarded my stubborn independence and led me back to the path when I couldn't find it on my own.
I am dumbfounded that I somehow got lucky enough to stumble across a person that could both help and watch me grow in all directions - letting me go out on my own but not being afraid to drag me along when I thought I wasn't ready to take on new things. She gave, and continues to give, me a space where I could be my uncensored self and loves me despite (and because of) my flaws. She so selflessly cares for the people she loves. Anyone who is fortunate enough to know her is better for it.
Don't get me wrong. Lakin and I butt heads. Often. Very often. We get in heated arguments over irrelevant matters - things as silly as who the best NBA players are or whether or not we should eat at Foco or the Hop. Sometimes we can't stand each other because we are painfully honest with each other. We are not afraid to challenge each other. And while it can be frustrating, everyone needs a friend who will be that open with them. No matter how heated the dispute is, I know that in an hour, I can call her to whine about my homework load or how tired I am.
Lakin is not only an amazing person, but a seriously kick-ass basketball player. Her pull-up jumper is freakishly good, and her strength allows her to bulldoze anyone standing in her way. It's actually kind of terrifying if you are the one standing in her way, but that is why I love being on her team. Guarding Lake in practice made me better every single day, as did playing along side her. Getting to learn from her on the court helped me grow so much as a player in my first two years.
Watching her move on from Dartmouth will be a challenge. While it doesn't sit well with me now, I know that wherever she heads next will be an unmatched adventure. One thing I am certain of with Lake is that wherever she lands, whatever she does, she will always be there for me and I for her. As hard as this week was, it's going to be okay because I know that it's never goodbye and always see ya later.