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To my friends back home, I still love you as much as I did the night we said our goodbyes and promised to talk all the time. Just because I have failed miserably at keeping my promise doesn’t mean I care any less. In fact, I probably care even more now.

It’s the nights when all I want is to drive around our hometown, blasting our weird music and screaming out the windows that I miss you the most. It’s the nights when I feel the pressure of schoolwork building on me and the panic attack coming on that I miss you the most. It’s the nights when I feel broken hearted and worthless that I miss your warm smiles, loving hugs and support. You have watched me grow from the kindergartener I was, happy with a stable family life and living without a care in the world. You were there for me when that all fell apart.

Some of you have been there for me since that first day, and some were more recent additions to my life. Regardless of when you came into my life, you have all made such an impact on my life and taught me something new about myself.

You taught me to be friendly. Everyone in the entire school knew you and loved you. I always watched in awe how you could compel so many people to love you until I realized that it was just who you are. You care about everyone around you and make that genuine effort to say hello and start the conversation before it turns into awkward silence.

You taught me to be passionate. Watching you pursue your love of fashion and art showed me that I could do that too. Now here I am, studying writing, literature and publishing at the school of my dreams. You took up every opportunity to learn more about what you love and tried it out, not worried about whether you’d fail or not, and your room can attest to that—decorated from floor to ceiling, wall to wall with your artwork.

You taught me to be driven. Even though you acted like schoolwork was such a breeze and the easiest thing ever, I know you tried your best. You always pushed yourself and never, ever slacked. You pushed me to turn my grades around and actually care about what I was learning. Without that, I would’ve ended up a slacker with no idea that I could love learning or English as much as I do.

You all taught me to be a friend. Having struggled so much to be social and to be a good listener, friends were not easy to come by for me and friendships weren’t worth keeping, but you changed that. To my friends back home, you taught me that not even the sky is the limit for me, and if I put my mind and heart to it, I can do anything I want to do. I can be a kind friend, a passionate learner and an ambitious person in every aspect of my life. You have shaped me into the person I am today, and I’m sure I don’t say it enough, but I cannot thank you enough. I will never find friends as loyal or loving as you have been to me, and I love you with all my heart.

A freshman Writing, Literature and Publishing major who spends her spare time drinking one too many cups of hot chocloate and advocating for the use of the oxford comma in her major.
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