With move-in day quickly approaching, the hardest thing for me is leaving all of my friends. I've known them for as long as I can remember. They've been with me through everything and I love them. Of course, we had our share of obstacles that we needed to move past, but we managed to stay together.
Sometimes they're the only things that keep me together or sane, and other times they drive me insane, but I still love them, and I don't know what it's going to be like not having them by my side every day.
Adri was the first friend I made that became apart of the group that I know today. She's going to George Washington University which is about 202 miles away from Rutgers. My sister and her sister knew each other from pre-school and our moms got along really well so they got Adri and me together. We immediately became friends. Every day in preschool, she would leave in the afternoon and I would look out the window, sad that my friend was leaving me and I would have to find other kids to play with. We would hang out at her house at least once a week, pet her dogs and eat the dinosaur chicken nuggets that her babysitter made every day. From preschool, we went on to conquer elementary school, middle school, and high school together. Along the way, we picked up a few people.
The next person to join our group was Fiona, the genius of the bunch. She's going to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which is around 247 miles away from Rutgers. We met her through Girl Scouts and from being in the same kindergarten class together. Fiona was extremely shy when we first met. I used to run around the playground and climb over all the equipment, while Fiona would cling onto her mom's legs and look at all the kids nervously. One of my favorite memories of our childhood was going over to her house and eating Annie's Shells and White Cheddar mac and cheese that her mom would make perfectly. To this day I'm still trying to replicate how her mom made it.
After Fiona came Karolina. She doesn't take crap from anybody. She's one tough girl, but she can also be a sweetheart. She's going to Montclair State which, thankfully, is only a little less than 40 miles away from Rutgers. We all "knew" her before she joined our group because she lives right by me. Whenever Fiona, Adri and I would walk home, Karolina would also be walking home, but not with us. She officially became a part of the group in third grade, when Adri, Karolina and I all had the same teacher. Karolina is like my rock. She keeps me grounded. When I'm being over dramatic or overreacting, she'll tell me and call me on my BS. In 5th grade or middle school, we would watch a show called "Whodunnit?" and eat popcorn on my parents' big bed. We also used to fangirl over Magcon boys and watch different videos or vines of them. Let's be honest, we still sometimes do that today, but to a lesser extent.
Next came Allison and Ally. I grouped them together because I don't remember which one came first, but they both joined the ensemble in 5th grade. Allison is going to The College of New Jersey which about 30 miles away from RU (Wooooooo) and Ally is going to Ohio State which is 526 miles away from Rutgers, not ideal but it's OK. I remember I was friends with Allison in Kindergarten because I went to her house once and the only thing I remembered about her house was the black and white checkered tile floor in her kitchen. It reminded me of a relative's house that also has a checkered floor. We might have been friends then, but we really became close friends in 5th grade. In middle school, Ally and I would gush over how cute the ICONic Boyz (a dance crew that was on Season 6 of America's Best Dance Crew) were and how Leonardo DiCaprio was so unbelievably gorgeous.
Last but, of course, not least, Brianna joined. She's going to Syracuse which is about 238 miles from Rutgers. I remember the day I met her so clearly in my mind. It was the first day of middle school and I was sitting in my industrial problem-solving class, twiddling my fingers. One of my friends at the time walked into the class with a girl behind her who was bouncing up and down with first-day excitement and nerves. Our mutual friend introduced us and the rest is history.
After that day, our friend group was complete. We would go into town (to my dismay) on Fridays and walk around with all the other middle schoolers and pretend that we were on top of the world. We'd walk into shops and look at clothes that we would never buy and, occasionally, go to Baron's and become a part of "those kids that hang around Baron's all the time." If we didn't go into town, we would hang out at someone's house and talk or play different board games like Monopoly or Clue.
In middle school, they helped me get through one of the most difficult times in my life and I really can't thank them enough for it. They would keep me distracted and entertained with all their antics. Like when Karolina and Adri used to always crash into each other (I'm not exactly sure how) and Karolina would freak out and think she has a concussion or when I played Hedbanz with Adri and we couldn't stop laughing about my question, "Does it make noise when it hits the ground?" which I thought was a good question because feathers don't make a noise that we can hear when they float down to the ground and the object that I was guessing was a jump rope.
Then in 8th grade, Brianna moved to a different town. It was close by, like a 15-minute drive, but still, I got a little taste of what it would be like when we all moved away for college. We'd see her occasionally on weekends, sometimes we would go to her or she would come to us. We'd text or call or facetime each other, but there were aspects of her life that I couldn't fully grasp because I wasn't walking the same halls that she was or driving down the same streets.
Finally, high school came. All of us changed in high school, whether we'd like to admit it or not. We all really became individuals that are part of a group, not just a group made up of individuals. We all made new friends, but we managed to keep our group as our home base.
With college here, it's hard to leave all of them. Each of my friends has played a vital role in my life. They all helped me get through family dramas that are still resonating today. They gave me support when I needed it and helped me take care of myself in my hours of need.
When we started to get our driver's licenses, we would go on drives around the Northside at night. We'd sing along to loud music and admire all the enormous houses.
Karolina and I work at the same cooking school which makes it 100% more enjoyable and results in hilarious situations. The other day, I was drying dishes and she literally yelled at the kids, "no more dancing!" When she walked into the back, she was so annoyed and I burst out into laughter. She looked at me like I was nuts. I told her that it was funny that she said that because it seems like something out of "Footloose" or "1984."
During the school year, Karolina would drive me to school every day. I'd get up at 6:15 or 6:20, get dressed, brush my teeth, maybe grab something to eat, and be out of the door at like 6:45 or 6:50. We'd get to school at 6:50 or 6:55, Karolina would complain about how bad the juniors are at parking and we'd be in a spot watching the sunrise. We'd always get out of the car and walk into the building at 7:15 or 7:20 and while we waited, we would talk about different things going on in our lives, or we'd rush to finish the homework that we never finished last night.
Recently, Karolina and I started hiking at a state park nearby, and it's become our thing. We'd get in a good work out and try not to fall on our faces, then we'd get in the car and drive with all the windows down at like 50 mph (the speed limit on this specific road is literally 45 mph), blasting chill music. All our worries would float away in those moments.
When Fiona and I were younger, we used to play two Wii games religiously: "Tanks" and "New Super Mario Bros." Both games are pretty simple, but we got really into them. Sometimes the games would get too intense and we'd scream "Mono a mono" or "Mono a duo" to say that it was one of us against one or two other enemy tanks. We started to pick it back up recently a few weeks before she left for school. Sometimes we'd stay up really late to try to beat a level on Mario or Tanks.
A common habit of Adri and I is to shop at Target. We go to other places but Target is like our second home of sorts. We always look at the clothes and the different furniture and house things. I always pick out stuff that I could put in my future home while we also joke around. Recently we bought the same pair of pants, we have yet to wear them at the same time, but she wore hers the day before I wore mine, and we sent each other photos of us in them. A while ago, we were with some other friends and we started pushing each other around in one of the shopping carts. Surprisingly, we didn't get into trouble. Another time, we went there with Adri's mom. We walked past all the board games and Adri knocked one over. She said, "whoops, sorry," and proceeded to pick it up, when she looked at it, she realized she actually knocked over the board game "Sorry" and we immediately burst into laughter that lasted for a few minutes. It was one of those "you-had-to-be-there" things. Sometimes we just go to Target if we're bored and we end up buying stuff we don't need. It's always a miracle if we walk out of there empty handed.
A common link between Ally and me was our Italian class. We were never in the same class until recently. In the middle of the year, our teacher left on maternity leave and was replaced by someone who was really nice, but the class was a mess. She would attempt to teach us but that never worked out. Most of the time Ally and I would just talk and give each other looks like "what the hell is happening" and "what is this class." There would always be something to laugh about and raise an eyebrow at or squint our eyes at.
About a year ago, I hung out with Allison at her house. We couldn't think of anything to do, so she came up with the idea to watch tv shows and movies from our childhood and I swear, it was one of the most enjoyable things that I've done while hanging out with my friends. One of the shows that we watched was Scooby-doo and I LOVED scooby-doo as a kid and I still do.
During my sophomore year or junior year, Allison and I had the same gym class. We were pickleball partners and we weren't too shabby. Allison carried us. She's really good at tennis so it carried over into pickleball. Me on the other hand, not so much. We were in a really intense game that was tied and it was for the junior varsity title or it decided who gets to go to the JV championship. All I remember was, I messed up. I saw the ball and I was going for it and I missed it, completely. I started laughing because it was pretty funny and Allison did too. I think that has to be one of my favorite gym class moments.
I think one of my favorite things that I do with Brianna, is we talk and we check on each other. At the beginning of senior year, I hadn't heard from Brianna in a while so I texted her something along the lines of, "Hey Bri, just wanted to check in and see how ya doing." Sometimes she calls me to say hi and other times she calls because she wants to talk to someone on her drive or walk somewhere.
What made it even harder to say goodbye, was the love that was shown on my birthday this year. It was the day after prom, and all my friends were at prom houses or at their own house, while I was in Pennsylvania with Fiona and two of our other friends who aren't in our core group. The clock struck midnight and it was officially my birthday, and the texts, FaceTimes, and calls came flooding in. I got a facetime call from one of my friends and when I answered, I was blasted with drunk and sober "Happy Birthday!"s and various other indistinguishable words and congratulations.
It was funny to watch and extremely heartwarming to know that despite most of them being a little bit tipsy, they remembered that it was my birthday and made an effort to send me love. This wasn't the first time that they've stayed up to say "Happy Birthday" and I've done that to them too, but this time around, it felt just a little bit more special than normal.
It's moments like all of those, that I'm going to miss. The small insignificant ones. The ones that, when they happen, I don't really think twice about.