Why I'll Always Appreciate My Friends From College

Why I'll Always Appreciate My Friends From College

You will forever be indebted to the relationships you built in college.
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Dartmouth has this way of taking an image you once thought was crystal clear and making it blurry. I know I’m blind, so arguably my picture has always been a little blurry, but I am for sure not the only student at Dartmouth that all too often loses sight of what is really important and the core character traits that comprise that picture. Dartmouth students always seem to have on this façade that everything is picturesque, when in reality most are just trying to piece together their life in a way that has at least some resemblance of clarity. College is a really interesting time because, while on the surface it’s about getting an education, it is arguably, more so, about personal growth and exploration. It is a time to crash through the expectations you thought were set in stone, and a time to push the limits so much that inevitably you will end up flat on your face. No one likes the uncertainty of that blurry picture, because that uncertainty comes with a crippling fear of failure that all Dartmouth students are petrified to face.

The only way to conquer fear is to tackle it head on. At some point in college every student will experience it, that moment when there doesn’t even seem to be an image anymore, let alone a perfect picture of clarity. And in that defining moment instead of having your family to help refocus, there are only those relationships built at school for you to fall back on. College relationships are so unique because falling is unavoidable and students rely solely on their friends to help clear up the picture.

I seriously could not have gotten through my first two years at Dartmouth without the amazing group of people I am lucky enough to call my friends. There are so many great opportunities at Dartmouth, but what can often be overshadowed is the opportunity to surround yourself with people who challenge you to be the best version of yourself. The people who make the picture clear yet always make you question if the resolution could be better. These are the people who will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the world; passion spills out of them and their enthusiasm makes you passionate too.

It is scary to think about where everyone will be in five or 10 years down the road. Even throughout college relationships are always changing. Undoubtedly there probably won’t be a time in your life when you are as close to your friends as you are in college. While losing touch is a scary thought, regardless of proximity you will forever be indebted to the relationships you built in college because those are the people that got you through a crucial building block in your life, a time where you had to figure out what that picture meant to you and unavoidably the people around you had a say in that. When I started at Dartmouth my picture was for sure a little blurry. At first I just thought that was because I’m blind and things are hard to see, but I’ve realized the people I surround myself with at school have shown me successful relationships are as important, if not more, than success defined by Dartmouth standards.

Cover Image Credit: Adam Couitt

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A Letter To My Best Friend On Valentine's Day

Because you are my ultimate Valentine.
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To my beautiful best friend,

Warning: This letter is about to get extremely cheesy. I am talking four cheese lasagna cheesy. But no one deserves a love letter like this more than you do.

This Valentine’s Day, I want to express my love for you. On this wondrous occasion with which most people express their love to their significant other, I want to tell you, my best friend, how much I cherish our friendship.

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You are the ultimate love of my life. Boys have come and gone but you remain a constant; for that I am grateful. You have been there for me when my family could not be; for that I am grateful. You have been my backbone, my rock, and all those other clichés people use to describe the people they care about, and yet you have been so much more than that as well; for that I am grateful.

All my love this Valentine’s Day goes out to you, my friend, because you do not receive it enough. You have picked me up out of the dirt, brushed me off, and kissed my wounds more times than I can count, and I will never be able to thank you enough for that, but I am sure am going to try.

Thank you for the midnight cries. Thank you for the midnight laughs. Thank you for ordering way too much food with me and still just eating it all. Thank you for the advice, both solicited and unsolicited. Thank you for telling me what I need to hear, even when it isn’t what I want to hear. Thank you for the silly pictures. Thank you for the stupid inside jokes. Thank you for making bad decisions with me. Thank you for laughing with me and laughing at me. Thank you for the endless memories.

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More than anything, I want you to know that I love you. I love you. You are the family I get to choose, the one I go to when I have nowhere else to turn. You are the one I know I can always run to, whether we saw each other yesterday or haven’t seen each other in a year. You have played a part in molding who I am as a person, and I am so grateful for having such an amazing person affecting my life in such a positive way.

With all the love in my heart,

Your friend
Cover Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.pederson.5/photos

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To The Friends I Can Be Myself Around

An open letter to those whose friendships I value more than a pint of Graeter's ice cream.

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There are those friends I love and care about deeply, but cannot be my true self around. Someone asked me before, "How can you call someone your friend if you can't be yourself around them?" I don't change myself to accommodate them or act in a manner unnatural to me — I just don't show them some sides of me. Growing up, some of my friends did not understand how I could ever want to write books or how I could love reading so much, so I learned at a young age to keep that side of me to myself. And yes, those are important parts of me, but my friends who did not understand it did accept it, and that was enough. Some thought it bizarre and humorous I love Celtic instrumental music or said some hurtful things about what I love that I realize now wasn't okay. But at the end of the day, there is love between us and common ground where I just remember to not mention some things.

Then there are those friends I can be my complete, unapologetic, authentic self with. The ones who support and encourage you to chase your dreams, even if they don't understand them. The ones who you can cry to about something silly, say whatever is on your mind without regretting it, and who thinks it's preposterous you refuse to fart in their presence because your other friends would give you crap for it (pun intended, and also true story). The ones you stay up late into the night talking about philosophy and crushes until your voices begin to rasp. The ones who are the closest to your heart.

I want to say thank you to these brilliant, caring, beautiful friends, new and old. Your love and support has helped me at all times, through the good and the bad and the boring. I only hope to be the same friend to you, to be open-minded, supportive, and enthusiastic. I believe it is important to cultivate a wide range of friends and support, but many of the friendships I mention earlier will most likely only be kept alive through memories; ours will last many lives to come. I look forward to growing old with you all and growing together.

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