Two and a half years ago, we were both shy and nervous freshmen who had just moved onto campus for the first time. We didn’t know what to expect. We were part of the same orientation group, and neither of us had much to say; we were just trying to absorb all of the new information. On the second day of orientation, you turned to me and started a conversation. I will always be grateful that you said something. Without those simple words, I never would have met my best friend, and I never would have been able to create such happy memories. I can’t count the number of times we laughed until our stomachs hurt, cried on each other’s shoulders, and went on new adventures. I could not ask for a more genuine friend. I have had the privilege of watching you accomplish your dreams. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, you took hold of it and ran towards your greatest aspirations. I have always admired your drive to succeed. In some cases, you even carved out your own path rather than settling in the footsteps of others. I am so proud of you. Your hard work has paid off tremendously. You are currently studying abroad as part of one of the most prestigious programs in the country within your field.

But I can’t say this enough, college is not the same without you. I miss all the times you would yell my name across campus to get my attention. I miss our movie nights, frozen yogurt trips, and hikes. I miss harmonizing to our favorite songs, all the inside jokes, and picnics on the green. It still feels weird not to make dinner plans with you, or take spontaneous trips off-campus on the weekends. Whether we went to the Yankee Candle Factory, Target, or a tree house in the middle of a nature reserve, we always had plenty of stories to share and memories to smile about. You are the type of friend who ran a thermometer to my room when I was sick, warned me about icy sidewalks, and dragged me out of my dorm room before academic stress completely consumed me. You spent just as much time with me at my worst as you did at my best.

Your patience amazes me. You watched me tear myself apart about the challenges I faced on a daily basis, whether it was a negligent friend, emotionally taxing romantic relationship, or overwhelming realization. I know that you wanted to tell me to move on and be myself; heartbreak was a waste of time. Instead, you waited while I justified my current circumstances, then showed me new approaches to self-growth. You convinced me that I could rise above every challenge with the proper attitude. You taught me that I have to respect myself before I can expect others to treat me with the same dignity. You knew what to say when my own voice failed. I wish I could talk to you right now, tell you that all the words you painstakingly laid out for me over the past two years have sunk in. I have finally applied your advice to all aspects of my life, and I am much happier. You helped me find myself again, because you remind me so much of the optimistic, brave, and resilient person that I used to be.

I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to truly thank you for your infinite love and support. I want to trade stories about the strange things that happen to us on a daily basis. I want to laugh for absolutely no reason because we are overly tired and will laugh at just about anything. My future is filled with unknown outcomes and uncertainties, but our friendship is constant. You are a part of my college life, a part of my second home. I love my other friends, enjoy my classes, and find plenty of activities to keep me busy, but nothing can fill the space of your absence. You are one of a kind.