To My College Roommates, As We Take On This Year TOGETHER

To My College Roommates, As We Take On This Year TOGETHER

It is that time of the year again.
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College is an experience in and of itself, but being away for college is an indescribable experience.

You have to learn to live for yourself; not to just survive, but also to thrive. All while not having your parents to always fall back on. For some people, this becomes a problem. As for others, this is the start of an unforgettable era.

You know you chose the right college when you go home for the summer and then the entire time you are counting down the days until you can return.

There is just something so amazing about being able to live on your own. To top that off, getting to live with your friends makes it that much more the worthwhile.

To My Roommates,

I have so much I owe to you all from the bottom of my heart. You all were always by my side while we were laughing so hard that we could not breathe and more importantly my shoulders to cry on when I felt like my world was crashing down on me.

Thank you for all you have done-- dealing with me at my worst, always adventuring, acting like 5-year-olds in public places, constant laughter, singing/dancing terribly, and being some of the greatest friends I could ask for.

As this next year is approaching I start to think back on how much we have grown, not only as friends but as individuals as well. We started off feeling nervous and alone at new, unknown place. Together to we conquered the world and have become the people who we are today. I could not have done that without you all by my side.

Let me just say it now before the year even starts, I am sorry. I am sorry for all the times I am going to be a pain and you want to kick me out of the room because let’s face it, we know it is bound to happen. I am sorry for either having my room look like a tornado came through or making my room beyond OCD organized-- and nothing in between.

When I think about going to school I do not think about the hours spent sitting in a classroom. I think about the times we helped eachother out with projects. When I think about friendship I do not think about all the people who have left. I think about you guys because you stayed. When I think about all that I have done this past year. I think about how you all were by my side through it all. We lived each day together, literally, and I could not be happier to say that I was able to have you all by my side.

The memories we have already made are just the beginning of all our memories that are to come because I know I have found friends for life within you all.

Now, it is time to show this year what we are made of.

Love Always,

Your Roommate

Cover Image Credit: Carly Halitzer

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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To Niall Horan And My Best Friend, Thank You For The Best Summer

The summer where we followed Niall on tour.

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To start off, I met my best friend Caroline in the tenth grade. She is my go-to gal, and I could never imagine my life if we didn't become friends. When we first met, we instantly bonded over our love for One Direction together. One Direction was the core of our friendship. We laughed and bawled our teenage boyband obsessed eyes out when they went on their hiatus which meant essentially they would be breaking up.

A year went by, a whole year with no music from any of the boys. Until our senior year rolled around and Niall announced he would be releasing an album and going on tour. Caroline and I were thrilled, we never knew how badly we needed this. When the album was released, we soon bought our concert tickets.

His show was in November of that year. The day of the concert we were overjoyed as we had waited so eagerly for that day. We missed him so much. We waited in line for what seemed like days but in actuality was only eight hours and were able to snag a great place to stand during the show. The concert itself is one of my favorite memories. It was such a warm and welcoming environment, and I never knew I could feel like that. After that show, Caroline and I knew we had to see him again.

We weren't sure when we were going to be able to see him. The next time he was playing in Atlanta was in September of this year. However, Caroline would be at her school in Chicago and had no way to be able to see him in our home town. We came up with a plan. We were going to convince our parents to let us see him in July in Nashville. We made a powerpoint and everything in hopes that it would work.

Our convincing our parents which ended up being a bit easier than we ever expected. We were in the clear to go. We purchased our tickets for that July to see him at Ascend Amphitheater. We bought soundcheck tickets and everything to make this an experience of a lifetime.

July soon come and we headed off for the adventure of a lifetime. It was an experience let me say. Driving on the highway, our GPS taking us down a one-way road and almost being slammed into by eighteen wheelers definitely made it memorable. We made it Nashville in one piece thankfully. We had a few hours before the show and just decided to get ready in our hotel and head to the venue.

Time passed so quickly. It's almost hard for me to remember everything. Niall's soundcheck was such an experience. We got to see a side of him we had never seen. He is one of the nicest people. He cares so deeply about us fans and constantly checking on us.

The show itself was indescribable. He was so happy to be able to play in Nashville. The show was completely sold out. It was a madhouse. Caroline and I befriended the girls beside us, and we danced the whole night away. We had waited for so long and it was just the best feeling to have no worries about anything because everyone was in the same boat and we were all able to appreciate Niall's pure talent together.

When the show ended, we were devastated because a night we had longed for had quickly come to an end. We spend the rest of the night in our room depressed because we didn't know the next time we would be seeing him. In the morning, we decided to go and grab some breakfast.

We had another master plan to try and see him the following night in Ohio. We really didn't think this plan would work. We both had to work the following few days, and we never thought our parents would allow us to do this so last minute. However, everything worked out and we were able to travel to Cincinnati to see him one more time.

In Cincinnati, we had the best time being able to explore the city for a day and being able to go to the show later that evening. We were so appreciative that we were able to see him again. We really had no care in the world. We danced the night away yet again. It was just so great to be able to be in that space and just have the best time listening to your favorite artist.

I will always look back on last summer. My best memories happened because of Niall and I couldn't be more grateful for both him and my best friend. I only hope we can do it again sometime soon.

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