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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This morning, I did the same thing I do every single morning when I wake up. Before my feet hit the floor, I say a prayer. I thank God for waking me up, blessing me with such a good life, and pray for any specific thing that is laying on my heart. Lately, I have been praying a lot for the same person many people in my community have been praying for- Matt McGregor. I have prayed for healing, comfort, strength, and many other things to happen in Matt's journey, but I also prayed that God's will be done in his life above all else. Little did I know yet that His will had been done.

I remember Matt from school. Every time I saw him, everyone around him was laughing. And I am not exaggerating. He was one of those special people who can literally make anyone and everyone laugh no matter the situation. He was one of those people that the world needs around to make life more bearable and just down right better.

Death sucks. Cancer sucks. Yes, I am glad that Matt is no longer suffering, but that does not really give me a sense of relief because I know his family and friends are suffering. I think about Matt's sisters, and cannot fathom the pain that they're feeling. I could not imagine life without my brothers, my kids not getting to grow up and hang out with their cool uncles, and telling on each other to our parents when we all come home for Christmas when we're 40. I think about his parents, who are having to do the hardest thing anyone could have to do, say goodbye to their son. I think about his friends, who's lives will never be the same every time they do something that reminds them that he's no longer here to share life with. He was too young, too full of life. The worst death are the ones that can't be explained, and this one of them.

That's the thing about life, you never know when it's going to end and that is what makes it so fragile. Someone you know passes away, and you suddenly start to contemplate whether you are living your life "good" enough. You wish you'd spent more time with the one who passed, hold on a little tighter to the ones who are still here, and make sure you remind them you love them. But to show someone you love them is much more powerful than telling them, and that is exactly how Matt lived his life. His life light was beaming all the time and he was constantly sharing that with everyone around him. That is part of why he was so special.

When someone dies, they leave their own legacy that is different from every single other person on the planet. Your legacy depends on the amount of light that you have shed on others. Looking through Facebook today, it is so obvious that his light touched so many people. Matt's death has reminded me of those that I have and will continue to lose throughout life... there is no better way to say it than death sucks. But even though death sucks, it reminds us to live our life to the fullest, and continue the legacy of those we've lost.

On a side note, I found it interesting that Matt was barefoot all the time, so I googled being barefoot in biblical times. Moses and Joshua was commanded to take off his shoes as he was standing on holy ground, and poor people did not have shoes so they went barefoot. But this is my favorite: priests in Israel went barefoot while ministering. They would take their shoes off before blessing their people. It is evident that Matt blessed so many people's lives in his short time on this Earth. Coincidence that he was known for always being barefoot? I think not.

Let your life light shine brightly like Matt's, and always live life to the fullest.

. . .

In loving memory of Matt McGregor Jr.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." Revelation 14:13

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