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Writing this, I sit alone in my dorm, the white walls stripped bare, with my life packed up yet again in IKEA bags and plastic bins. I’m not all that good at goodbyes, but as a really close friend of mine told me, “You can’t stay here forever,” and I can’t.

Everything has come full circle. I cried coming and I’m crying leaving. As I left home, I said that I’d miss the South Florida rain and so it rained as I came and it’s raining as I’m leaving, like it’s pouring down just for me. Even the sky cries during goodbyes.

I used to be so scared and anxious at the thought of leaving home for the first time. How could I function on my own? How could I leave everything I had ever known? How could I start from scratch for the very first time? Turns out it was nothing to fear. Freshman year was a blessing stacked on blessings.

I turned the key into my dorm for the very first time, as an older version of myself, unlocking a whole new world—a hell of a year. I am someone else, someone new, as I turn my key into my dorm for the very last time. I spent eight months here, which is fitting since I was born a month early, so freshman year thrust me out of its womb brand new. I developed and became within these eight months and I am very much still becoming. The next three years aren’t ready for me.

Freshman year changed me. Freshman year showed me what it was to care and to love life itself and everything it has to offer. Freshman year brought the most amazing people into my life. It was late nights that turned into early mornings, laughing so hard the tears almost ran down my legs, aimless drives with the top down, weekly group target runs, hanging in room 131 (bless room 131), blasting music for the neighbors to hear, scootering through midnight graveyards and adventures whose memories will last a lifetime. Too much of a good thing is wonderful.

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I am not one to typically say “I love you” to anyone other than my mom because it feels weird, but I do, love you, all of you, that freshman year has brought into my life and all those who came before. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Coming into freshman year was like jumping out of a skydiving plane and now that I’ve landed on my feet the adrenaline still keeps me high because it was just unbelievably amazing. I was Neil Armstrong landing on new territory, planting a flag of independence.

Freshman year taught me how to be the mess and the broom at once. It was a year of strong emotions, tears of happiness and sadness and everything in between. A year of learning how to walk in this new chapter. A year of trial runs and errors but also some of the greatest successes. I have never been so happy. There is so much worth living for in this life and this year has just been the beginning.

Freshman year was about living in the “now.” Thank you Freshman year for everything: the highs and lows, the zoom classes I slept through, the in-person classes I gained knowledge from and the new friends who I feel like I’ve known a lifetime. I savored every moment. I’ll miss you, freshman year, but as I close friend of mine once said, “You can’t stay here forever,” and I can’t. Here’s to the future and all that’s in store. Too much of a good thing is wonderful—it really is.

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Julia Safrin is a freshman at Florida State from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is majoring in creative writing with aspirations of becoming a screenwriter for movies and TV. She has a general love for writing but is the most passionate about spoken word poetry. In her free time she goes out with with her friends and vibes to indie, alternative, and modern rock music. On campus she is involved in Poetry Club, the Brazilian Student Union, and the Hall Council. Julia is fluent is Portuguese and also frequents concerts and poetry slams.
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