When I was in elementary school, I remember having a big circle of friends. As I made my way to middle school my friend group shrunk, but not by much. And then when high school came I could count on one hand the people that I considered close friends or even my best friends. When we’re young, we have a sense of oblivion to the world, and especially to the people around us. We haven’t been around long enough to see that not everyone is as honest and kindhearted and loving as they should be. We grow up and spend some time out in the real world and we see that not everyone is aspiring to be the same thing. People lie and they cheat. They can be greedy or backstabbing. We see that we can’t trust everyone and we see that we can’t count on everyone like we could when we were in elementary school. I wish that we could have that sense of trust and belief in people like we had when we were younger, but we soon realize we can't.

I was scared to go off to college. I went to a small high school and I felt safe in my little bubble of friends and the familiarity of everyone and everything just by walking down the halls. In that moment, I was set. I didn't want anything different, I didn't want to make new friends or spread my wings so they say. But I did. And now I couldn't be more grateful for the people I have met along the way.

Sometimes it can be sad to lose touch with the people that you went through twelve years of school with. But sometimes that’s what happens and in the end, you’ll be glad it worked out that way. The saying “You’ll find out who your true friends are sooner or later...” is something that has rang true in my world. In order to live a happy successful life, we need to surround ourselves with people who will pick us up not put us down. Our college years and the years that follow are some of the most important years of our lives. We’re going to find our career paths, find our special half that we eventually hope to marry and live happily ever after with. We will be faced with challenges and succeed and fail and then succeed again. And the people that we want along on that journey with us are the people that tell us we can do it when we think that we cannot. The people who will make you laugh when you think you don’t have a reason to. The people that will stand by us when they know we were wrong but they're not going to turn their back on us.

I’ve met so many beautiful and smart human beings on my journey through college and I couldn't be more grateful for them. They have lived totally different lifestyles than me and have a different way of looking at the world, but that’s exactly what I needed. We need a variety of people in our lives to help us become better people. To push us, to make us try new things. To face challenges with us and stay up till 2 AM studying for an exam. To drink a whole bottle of wine with and regret it in the morning. And to climb mountains with, literally, if you're into that.

At one point in my life, I didn’t want to take this journey and try new things. I wasn't ready to leave my little security bubble in high school and meet new people. But now, I am so glad that I did. I have accomplished so many things thus far. I have tried new things and met so many great people. One person specifically I consider one of my best friends and I don’t know how I could live my crazy life without her in it.

So I dedicate this article to my college friends that I met at North Country Community College as well as SUNY Potsdam that I didn't see coming. You’ve made my journey so far worthwhile. And what a journey it has been.