When you were younger, it was common practice to invite the largest amount of kids to your birthday party to achieve ultimate popularity and status. The sole number of other kids at your party determined how popular or cool you were. As I've grown up, this perspective and ideal has done a total 180. My 10 year old self wanted 50+ kids at my birthday party and now I sit thinking about how my ideal 21st birthday will be spent with 3-5 other people. Not just any "other" people, but the best, most genuine, and important people in my life disregarding family members.

Throughout the somewhat rough years of adolescence into high school and even beginning the most difficult chapter of college, friendships have both drifted and blossomed. It has taken time to realize who my true friends are, and there have been highs and lows along the process, but I am forever grateful for who has emerged by my side. There is no better feeling than knowing that the people in your life are those who only have your best interest in mind and those you feel most comfortable around. I am blessed to say that some of these people I met at the beginning of college, a time that some deem to be "too late" to find your best friend(s). I am a testament to the opposite side of that opinion.

It truly is not about the quantity of friends you have, but the quality of the relationships with each person. As life goes on, it can get more complicated and sometimes messy. But having people you can truly count on to lift you up and support you is so incredibly important and valuable. My advice is to treasure those people who share your goals and passions or even those who see things differently but support you wholeheartedly nonetheless. Keep them close to your heart and recognize their value because there will be a time where you have a sudden realization of how lucky you are to have these people around, and you'll be grateful for whatever force of the universe brought you together.

I cannot imagine my life without these special people in my life and am only optimistic about our futures as we move forward and continue to grow as individuals but also together.