Dear Pal,

I am amazed by you. I am amazed by your dedication to everything you do. As I sit across from you right now, hearing about your journey and challenges and daily struggles, I feel blessed to know that you have made time for me. In list form, (for the sake of an article) here are a few things you have taught me that I will never forget.

1. Be strong

I am as strong as I want to be and can do anything that I want to. You have been given an innumerable amount of roadblocks, ones that I cannot imagine overcoming, but here you are. You have proven to be a living example of what it means to have faith in God, and to trust His timing, taking hold on the fact that He won’t give you more than you can handle. I have learned from you what it means to be a warrior and to tackle heavy obstacles through my faith in Him.

2. Don’t compare your story

You have been through hell and back, but when I talk about what happened on my seemingly insignificant weekend, you make me feel as though I conquered the world. You have shown me how important it is to live through your life, and not to wish you were in someone else’s. I have learned through you what it means to be proud of how far I have come, and to keep striving to be my best me.

3. Build others up

Never have I seen you frown and you are always on your A game. You are the sweetest, most genuine person and one who isn’t going to let your bad day tear others down. You have a way of making everyone feel special and loved and necessary, you make me feel important. I have learned through you how important it is to allow others to feel that warmth sparked by positive attention.

4. Give it to me straight

You always say that you’re not good at confrontation, but you have proven to be very wrong in that. You know what it means to be straight with someone, and how to help them be better. I have been known to beat around the bush, but with you, I know that you are going to give someone what they need to know about themselves, in order to help them grow. I have learned from you how to give advice, how to receive criticism, and how to handle tough situations.

5. Live every moment

You recently told me that you wake up at 5 every morning to go to the gym, and are at it until about 1 a.m. some nights; all I can say is that I am shook. Not only am I never going to complain about being tired again, but you have given me the motivation to be better. You take every moment for what it is worth and I’m sure some of that comes from you finding out the hard way how precious life is. You amaze me by how full your schedule is, that if you want to do something, you will find time to do it. I have learned from you what it means to not waste time and how to live fully.

6. Laugh about it

You have taught me that there is a time and a place for taking things seriously, but also a time to cut loose and have fun. You spread your smile across campus, and leave a warm fuzzy on everyone’s heart. Thank you for showing me when it's better just to laugh about it, not stress about it, for showing me that things are always going to get better and that in the moment, we should smile. I have learned from you that I am going to be okay, that I am going to conquer this college thing, and that I should most definitely smile while doing so.

7. Coffee Helps

I love our coffee dates. Seeing you so motivated to be a good teacher makes me want to be a good writer, that’s probably why I am writing this right now. Sipping on a Caramel Macchiato and twirling your pencil while studying away, a small break in your hectic day. I have learned from you that coffee helps. (Okay, maybe I already knew this but I’m telling myself it’s not just me who compulsively drinks coffee to make myself feel better)

8. It is well

Hopefully, you don’t mind me stealing this little phrase from you, I love it so much. Through your stories, through your time, through your help, I have learned from you that it is well.

For those of you reading this, who don’t know Courtney, she is a BGSU enthusiast, the daughter of a fighter, the sister of some warriors, the niece of angels, and a child of God. She is my PAL, and I have been so blessed to get to know her. And with that, I will say thank you.