To The Organization That Introduced Me To My Best Friends

To The Organization That Introduced Me To My Best Friends

I didn't know it at the time, but these are my best friends.

All throughout my childhood, I had a very chaotic home life. Although I knew my parent both loved me, their poor decisions at home made it very hard for it to feel that way. When I was 8 my parents had a brutal divorce, I vividly remember the arguing through my home and through my entire family. When I was 13, my dad spent time in jail due to an incident involving child abuse, after having it publicized throughout the community, kids at school spreading many rumors, and parents always staring.

Going through high school, I was involved in an organization called Key Club International. Key Club International focuses on serving others. With over 270,000 members in 37 nations, Key Club has completed over 12 million hours of service each year, donating millions of dollars to charities like UNICEF, March of Dimes, and Children’s Miracle Network. Key Club is the high school branch of the Kiwanis Family.

I served on the Indiana District Board during my junior year. I would travel in Indianapolis, Indiana about every two months, and have the opportunity to interact with other students my age from around the state. The Key Club district board compiled of high school students who, for the most part, never met each other. We were also faced with the task to run an international organization on the state level. In order to be successful, we had to become very close very fast.

I will never forget the day I met my best friend Rylee Briel. Rylee served for the division next time mine, meaning she lives about 30 minutes away from my house. Before our first board meeting, the only communication I had with these kids was through emails and phone calls. We had arranged for all of the Northwest Indiana kids to carpool together down to the board meeting.

This included our now best friends Nicky and Shyam. Since we were all so young, Shyam’s dad had to drive us to Indy. Early that morning, I was dropped off in an IHOP parking lot, so I could hang out with a group full of strangers. It is hard to pinpoint the point where we all became best friends after that awkward car ride, but it happened somehow.

If you would have told me on that day that these kids would be my closest group of friends, I would have laughed. However, three years later, these are the people who are the most in my call log.

Shyam goes to Indiana University, Nicky goes to Valparaiso University, and Rylee is still in high school. When we have a break from school, we still always manage to see each other.

I cannot explain how grateful I am that a high school club brought us together. Key Club gave me the opportunity to branch out of my shell, and become the person I am today. The organization provided me with the confidence I needed. I was able to meet my closest friends through this high school club. I am truly thankful I joined Key Club International.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Ashby

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I Drifted But Now I'm Reaching Out

I'm not going to isolate myself anymore.

I’ve noticed that since I started college, I dropped a lot of habits. Some were habits that I really needed to get rid of, such as picking at my nails and snacking way too much. Other habits, though, I really shouldn’t have dropped. Maybe I just got too busy or lazy, or maybe it was just something for the high school me. Yeah, I’ve changed a lot in college but I’m going to try and get back into the good habits I had.

College gave me a lot of time. Suddenly I had all this free time and I realized that it was entirely up to me what I wanted to do with it. The freedom is really great, I won’t deny that, but what I noticed was that I found myself alone a lot.

Maybe it was my intention that some days I just wanted some alone time, but more often than not I found myself realizing that I hadn’t seen or talked to friends in a while. I realized I wasn’t hanging out with people anymore. I was alone.

Now, I know the importance of myself reaching out. Before I always worried that there was a reason I wasn’t seeing or talking to people as often, I mean, there was school so maybe everyone was just busy.

But I feared that I was missing out on so much was because I was unwanted in those moments. After gaining confidence, I've decided won’t isolate myself anymore. I’m an outgoing person, but I won’t be selectively outgoing anymore.

In high school, I could barely go two classrooms down without seeing someone and stopping to talk to them, and I want college to be the same way. It’s really impossible to know everyone at your college but reaching out isn’t that hard for me to do, I’ve just been lazy. I haven’t put in as much effort as I should be putting in and I know that if I want to keep some of the amazing friendships that I currently have, I need to not be distant.

It’s easy to drift away when emotions and events start piling up. Sometimes, the only thing I want to do is just lay in bed and not think about my to-do lists and schedules and problems that I have.

Once I start doing that though, I get sucked in and it becomes so hard to get the energy to get up and move. I don’t want that to be the case anymore. I don’t want to hide away with the “what ifs” and speculation as to why I didn’t go or get invited. From now on, I’m just going to go, and then see what happens.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My Best Friends, Thank You

I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

I have gone through many friends in the past few years, some that lasted a while some that only lasted a few months, but you know exactly when you found your perfect person, soulmate, best friend, the one that will never get away. It’s the friends that stick with you through the toughest times and stay.

The ones you call at 3:00 a.m. because you got into a fight with your boyfriend and can’t sleep and they stay on the phone until your ready to sleep. The ones that you can count on to pick you up because you need a ride no matter where you are.

Dear Best Friends,

I just wanted to thank you for being you and for letting me be me. Thank you for letting me feel so much like myself when I’m with you. Thank you for sharing in my happiest moments, and for listening to my saddest stories and giving compassion and empathy from wherever you are. Thank you for being the only person I ever want to confide in. Thank you for being the most beautiful person, inside and out.

Thank you for making the world a better place, just by being in it. Thank you for defining selfless, always putting others before yourself, you are going to change the world just as much as you have changed mine. Thank you for all the memories we made at Disney this year on our senior trip. Thank you for practically being my second Mom.

Thank you for setting the bar so high and making it impossible to find another friend as good as you. Thank you for making these past years we have been friends feel like forever and for giving me enough memories to last a lifetime, but not ending there.

Thank you for making me hurt when I miss you, but for taking the hurt away when I see you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the absolute privilege of being able to call you my best friend, thank you for being my person. Thank you for giving me these reasons, and a million more, to be thankful for.

I sometimes find myself looking back on my life and realizing how huge of a part you have played in keeping me steady when the rest of my world has been falling apart. How you have known what to say and do in the moments when I have felt all control slipping through my fingers.

Even if it’s just dropping everything and taking me for coffee, shopping and listening to me try to untangle the mess I call my life. Thank you for those days when the rest of the world is against me, for making me feel less alone. For believing every silly dream which enters my head and being excited for me about things which no one else understands. Thank you for always validating my emotions, for taking my side, for telling me when I’m wrong, for being honest.

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