The time has come for me to pack up my belongings that have been scattered around my room for the past couple of months and move back into a tiny dorm room. I know that it never gets easier for you to watch me leave and that you still have the urge to call me as soon as you dropped me off to make sure everything is okay. I know that it's still strange for you to think that you don't have to drop me off to whatever sport, club, or activity I decided to try, even though you haven't done that in years. I know that it's strange to go back to your quiet apartments and know that I'm no longer just a few doors or blocks away. But most importantly, I know that all of the things you've told me throughout my two decades of life that I didn't want to listen to at first are words that I know carry with me in almost any situation I've dealt with at college.
Mom, you're one of the most determined, independent, confident, and resilient women I have ever met in my entire life, and I couldn't be more thankful for you. Even though we butt heads at times as most mothers and daughters do, everything is always back to normal at the end of the day. You showed me that no matter how old you are, there is no age limit to finding yourself and achieving your dreams. You always taught me something that I continue to live by to this day, which is that everything happens for a reason. You also showed me what it means to be a leader and the importance of sticking to my beliefs regardless of what anyone says. Without the sacrifices that you've made for me that started before I was born and the support you've shown for me, I don't know who or where I would be.
Dad, one of the best things that you've taught me is the importance of trying new things. Whether it's a new dish, a new activity, or even encouraging me to talk to new people, my best memories have been made from following this advice. When I first started college (which is a moment that you bring up quite often to remind me of how far I've come), I was extremely shy and had no idea how I was going to make friends besides my roommate. However, after going home my first weekend, I immediately realized that I wanted to stay at my school and try to make the best of it. While I wasn't as involved my freshman year of college because I decided to take six classes, I decided to play rugby in the fall semester and then joined a sorority in the spring in addition to going to various campus events throughout my two years (mainly because of the free t-shirts). I couldn't imagine where I'd be without your words of wisdom and your constant support for me throughout my life.
And now, Mom and Dad, I just wanted you to know that it was through your senses of humor that I learned the importance of looking at situations in a positive light. It was through your words of comfort and advice as you told me that you were going your separate ways that made me realize that even though you can fall out of love, it's still possible for you to fall back into it. And, lastly, it was through your constant support and life lessons that I learned that being kind and able to listen to others while also being strong enough to stand up for what I believe in will help me move mountains.