For me, moving away to college meant several things. It meant packing up everything that I knew and moving two hours away, leaving behind my friends that I’d kept for years and my family whom I’d lived with all of my life.

Going into college, I had high hopes that I’d be roommates with someone who I could consider my best friend, someone who could potentially be my maid-of-honor at my wedding one day. While that might not have been what my first semester of college brought me, I’m not mad about it either.

My college roommate was just a roommate, and I’m okay with that.

That being said, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for being just a roommate. I had several friends who had gone in blind and they found themselves with some pretty crazy (almost unbelievable) stories to tell. While I don’t have many (if any) stories to tell about our time living together, I’m thankful that at the end of the day, we were at least able to coexist.

If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have met my friends (and my future roommate). I wouldn’t have felt the need to branch outside of our room and get to know some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, who happened to live in our hall.

If it weren’t for you always staying in our room, I might’ve sat in our room forever and missed out on some of the greatest friendships and experiences that college has to offer, and for that, I thank you.

I’m thankful that you held me accountable without saying a single word at all. Typically, roommates ask each other about their classes and exams, but because at times we barely spoke at all, I found myself becoming more responsible day by day, living by my planner and my schedule.

I feel like saying “thank you for not speaking to me” will come off the wrong way, so instead I’d like to say thank you for teaching me a thing or two about silence. All of my life, silence has been uncomforting to me, the absence of noise alone could drive me up a wall before I moved to school in the fall. However, you taught me that sometimes, silence is the best option.

All my life, I’ve heard that silence is golden, but I feel as if it took me 18 years to really understood what that expression meant, and for that I thank you.

Lastly, thank you for teaching me how to be alone. The day that I found out that you were moving out was a rough one, although I don’t like to admit it. I myself didn’t understand my emotions at the time; I mean, we weren’t close, we barely even talked, so why was I so upset to hear that you were moving out at the end of the semester?

The answer is rather simple: I was afraid of being alone. Although it had felt as if I was alone all semester, you moving out meant me really being alone, which terrified me.

However, after almost a month since the new semester began, I credit all of my new found independence to you. Now living on my own, I am accountable for everything that goes on in our room, and yes, I still think of it as our room because you were a part of it.

For the first week or so, things felt incredibly empty. Not only furniture-wise, but the room somehow lacked personality. Although we never talked, I found myself missing just hearing you talk on the phone (like you did all the time) because now all that I was left with was myself.

That being said, if you get a roommate who is just a roommate, it’s not the end of the world. If your roommate moves out after a semester, it’s not the end of the world.

Things happen and people change, but at the end of the day, your college experience is your college experience, and you have complete control over what that looks like. So get out of your room, and get to know some of the people who live in your hall. Ask the girl who sits next to you what her name is.

College is too damn short and too damn expensive to not take advantage of the experiences while they last.