Dear Freshman Year,

They say happiness comes in waves, and I believe that to be true with all emotions. They come and go with the wind; you never know just exactly which one you're going to get. Well, you, my friend, were a hurricane! Boy, was I caught up in all of your beautifully crazy mixed up waves. It's never easy letting go of something you love, and letting go of you was by far one of the hardest goodbyes this life has thrown at me yet.

I've learned that if you love something, you should set it free. But in this situation, you obviously can't ever come back, and that's okay. You gave me exactly what I needed in a time in my life where I didn't have a single clue what it was that I wanted, let alone needed — I can't thank you enough for everything you've taught me. Although I am not quite at peace with letting you go just yet, I can use the great hope that you gave me as a reminder that there is so much life left to explore. It was a great adventure even if you were only a very small piece of this amazing life I get to live. As this crazy season comes to a close, I can only find it appropriate to share how impactful it was on my life.

You gave me a taste of freedom that I had never had before. You're seriously telling me I have no rules? I can come home whenever I want and leave as late as I please? No one is going to nag me about keeping everything clean? All of this newfound freedom was quite the rush, but you also used it to remind me that I was pretty much alone. I only know a couple of people, which is a pretty scary thought in a school of over 20,000 kids.

Not to mention I was living with complete strangers, Little did I know that those two strangers living on the other side of the room would become my closest friends. In a matter of months, they would leave me with the hardest goodbyes. There's something pretty special about the friendship that comes from being roommates freshman year, and I wouldn't trade those friendships for the world. Thank you for bringing us together.

Thank you for showing me that there is life outside of small town USA. This past year I have dreamed the biggest dreams. For once, they don't seem to be make-believe anymore. You taught me that I am more than the small town where I came from and the life outside of here is pretty great, but you also showed me that the people back at home are just as great. You reminded me that no matter how long I was away, I'll always be able to come back home to friendly faces.

Thank you for challenging me. The cards I was dealt this year weren't greatest, to say the least, but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Through this year, you showed me that even the deepest sorrows can bring about something beautiful. For me, this glimmer of hope was found in friendships. In the darkest moments of this year, where I wanted nothing more than to give up right then and there you surprised me with some of the most beautiful friendships that I will cherish forever.

Last but most definitely not least, through these friendships, you reminded me to live. You reminded me that sometimes all you really need is a night out with good friends, and it could be as simple as a night like that to create some of the best memories. My only wish is that I would've realized it sooner. You see, I spent most of my time this year simply going through the motions. I was alive, but in a sense, I wasn't really living. It took something that I thought would be the most devastating moment of my year to realize that. The thing is, sometimes we confuse comfortable with happy — that was my biggest mistake. I fell so in love with being comfortable that I was missing out on the crazy adventures that this year had to offer. I cannot thank you enough for showing me this. You taught me that there is so much more to this life than the way I was living it.

You introduced me to great adventures, crazy nights, and even better friends — I am forever grateful. With that, I think it's time to let you go. If you have taught me anything, it's that I can't live in the past. So, now that I've thanked you, it's time to continue doing what you taught me to do best: live life to the fullest.

Thanks for all of the memories. I promise I'll never forget you.

Love,

A Grateful Sophomore