Every morning when I wake up to the sounds of my best friends down the hall, I feel like it’s a dream that I never want to wake up from. This past year was the first time in my life where I truly feel like I’ve found my people. It’s not something I often talk about, but before college I always felt distant from the people in my life and although they had the best intentions, I couldn’t help but feeling a little “off” from them. But this year, I have found people who truly always know what I need to hear and know when to push me or to pull me in. Spending time with them energizes me rather than exhausting me and friendships like that are truly rare in this life. Going through life with these people gives me a constant support system that I’ve never felt before outside of my family. We all share the same values and sense of humor but are drastically different without clashing.

This year held some of the highest highs and lowest lows that I’ve ever known and the stakes only seem to grow more serious as we get older. There were nights where Isabel made me sleep over because she didn’t want me to be alone and days when Jenne snuck me into the dining hall so I wouldn’t have to face going home to an empty apartment. Troy has the quickest and most thoughtful text responses I’ve ever seen and Izzy always knows the EXACT right thing to say. Maria is the best at distracting me from the sad thoughts with laugh-track tv shows and David is the only person who can truly get me to “chill out”. I’d never wanted to be with a large group of girls more than wanting to be alone before this year that consisted of nights spent with all seven of us snuggled in Isabel’s bed. We’ve talked about the things one never says aloud and have been there to hold each other when the words bring tears. We push each other to try new things and are there every step of the way in case it gets scary. These are the girls I’ve cried with until 3 am and danced with until 5am. It’s hard to watch someone go through something that you know won’t work out in the long run. The best friends in the world are the ones who understand that you have to see it through for yourself and even if they don’t agree with your choices along the way, they’re right there for whatever comes after. “We’re in this together, whatever you go through, I go through too.”

The best times of my life have been this year and I’ll never forget the McDonalds trips after some of the worst times. I truly believe lasting friendships are built in these moments because there is nothing more heartbreaking than coming to a friend in need of help only to be told that you’re a burden. I thank God every day for finding me friends that not only accept this burden without turning their back on me, but do so with an, “of course, that’s what friends are for.”

Living with some of these incredible people makes the mundane tasks of everyday fun. One of the first mornings of us all being in the house we all piled in Isabel’s bed and planned out the errands we had to run and I can honestly say, I’ve never had so much fun grocery shopping in my life. Home isn’t about a place, it’s about people. I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to live with some of these people and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us.

p.s. special thanks to girl gang, maria and david for ALWAYS answering when I want to FaceTime

p.p.s. special special thanks to Isabel for hugging me when my mom was too far away to do it herself

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