It does not seem real that these are my final days at USC for the time being. In less than a month, I leave to study abroad for four months. While I am excited to celebrate my friend's engagement, meet my host family, and eat tagine for three meals a day, I can't help but be overwhelmed with nostalgia.
From the blank walls that I made my own to the boxes and boxes of stuff I moved from one room to the next, this dorm has shaped who I am today.
The nights where I was up all night laughing until it hurt or binge-watching Netflix made the nights where I stayed up all night studying and writing essays disappear from my memory. To the secrets and inside jokes that we swore would never leave that room. I never once thought that I would miss these four walls and beat up furniture.
However, my squeaking bed and beat up dresser will still be there, unchanged, when I return. My friends, however, will not. Four months apart from the people that have become my family and personal therapists will be hard but knowing that when I come back they will have made new memories is even harder.
No one is dying but knowing this is the last time we will all live in the same hall has made me appreciate every second.
I will be halfway around the world learning so much and while I am so excited, I just wish I could pack every one of my friends in my suitcase. I need my roommate as my sounding board for all of my crazy ideas and to listen to me rant when I get back from Econ and the guys behind me didn't know the difference between a hyphen and a minus sign.
Who is going to listen to what crazy things I say when it is 2 a.m. and I am delirious? More importantly, who is going to also be just as delirious and respond to my crazy thoughts?
Who is going to slip a note under my door condemning me to Hell because I pranked them? Who is going to be collateral damage when I have had a bad day and needed to cry it out?
My group of friends has made the past year and a half the best of my life.
We have been through the best and worst together and quite literally fallen on our faces multiple times. They have become my home. Not Columbia, not this dorm, not my hometown. When I say I am homesick, it will be because I miss these people who have accepted me for who I am and allowed me to grow.
I will get to make new memories with my friends in Morocco and be absolutely spoiled by them as well as my host family. I know I will have new inside jokes and nights where we laugh so hard it hurts. It is interesting to feel like I am starting from scratch and building two separate lives with an ocean between them.
Two separate versions of myself with stories and experiences that can't cross borders because you just had to be there.
In the end, I am so excited to return to Columbia and share stories of my study abroad experience. But I am even more excited to see who I am four months from now and who my friends have become. I am so excited to see how much they have changed and meet my friends again as a better version of myself.