Youth is a hoax. It's the drug that everyone takes that makes them do reckless things. People are so eager to things for the sake of their "youth" that they'd throw themselves into danger without a second thought. To them, it's all fun and games and things that add to the "spice of life." The years we spend in college are the most defining years of our lives- new relationships are made, new experiences explored, new places traveled, new identities being formed. Sometimes, we get so high on the ephemeral nature of college life that we assume nothing will change. We assume that we're all in this together and that none of us will do the treacherous things friends do after college like move away, get a job, get married, or outgrow one another. The days spent driving through random dirt roads and city lights are filled with such peace and longevity that we trust, and forget we trusted, that things would stay the same. The beauty of assumptions is that they anchor us without us even knowing it.

I never had friends in high school. My whole life had been this monochrome routine between school and home. That routine anchored me, even though there as always a feeling of melancholy. I had myself and that was enough. When I got into University, I met people I didn't want to lose, and I started to depend on people I never meant to depend on. There was one person, in particular, whom whenever I looked at them, I didn't see a human being. I saw a work of art. They were eccentric, intelligent, popular, everything I wanted to be, and I attached myself to this person hoping that by some sort of osmosis, I could be like them. They were a character from a novel, and I loved reading. I was so absorbed in this newfound love for reading that when I looked up at the world around me, the world felt disconcertingly alien, as though it were not my home. I had spent so much time reading this beautiful, classic novel that when it was over, it was hard to pick up a new one. It was hard to write my one novel. Recent events made me realize that I needed to find my center, the place where I truly am. I went into college with all these plans for myself, a vision of my best self, and it was time I stopped neglecting that. We spend so much time seeking love from other people that we start to build our lives around it. I thought these people mattered to me and that I mattered to them, but what I failed to realize was that no matter how much people say they care for you, they actually don't. Every person in a university is there to make good grades and eventually move on. Why else are you in this new town, in this new apartment? If you aren't getting the grades you were meant to make, and you feel like you are having problems in life? Ask yourself how much of that is influenced by the people around you. We make friends and take the midnight train to cookout because humans are lonely beings with intimacy and attachment issues. Friendship is supposed to be something that is loose and mutual. Every person is here to take care of themselves. Like children, we scramble to have fun and show love, and we do adult things like drive, pay rent, buy groceries, and go to college, but we are all children whose first priority should always be ourselves.

When my friends started to drift away, I felt that it was my fault. Some flaw, some overstepping of social boundaries because I'm a chemistry major which automatically makes me socially disabled. They said I was a work of art two years ago, and then they call me a child. Since when did I stop being their equal? Once I got past the hurt and the despair, I felt spiteful. I missed the days where all I had was myself, and the endless places my own two hands could take me. Lately, it was like all my trembling hands could do was dry my own tears. Until I wiped away that last tear drop and said "fuck it." You shouldn't be sitting there reconsidering where your friendships lie, or reminiscing on freshman year when things were simpler, you should be preparing for your summer classes, studying for the GRE, working on improving yourself. At this point, I realize that there's nothing I can really do to make myself feel like I am a part of my old friend group anymore. What I can do, is make the decision to be alone and focus on what I need to do to get into medical school. Just let it all go because what is the point? If you feel like your friendships with these people aren't doing you any favors in the long run, then get the hell out of it. You want friends who inspire you and challenge you to be better and work towards the goals that you promised yourself freshman year. So I got up, and I laid waste to all the memories I'd been desperately holding onto.

It will be hard because you feel like you're giving something up, and you'd be left with basically starting college all over again. You don't want to feel like you're cutting people out, but these big, hard decisions are what's going to have an impact on your college experience. You'd have to rebuild this identity, find new friends, and remake your college experience, but it's all irrelevant. In fact, find the adventure and freedom in starting at zero. If the buttons are buttoned wrong, unbutton them all. Pick up all the pieces and start over. I grieved over the thought of losing my friends. But maybe they were never mine to lose. You can still be what you want to be. You can still be what you said you were when you first met everyone. When they first met you.