A List of Love and Thank You's

As someone who stresses about a lot of things that don’t need to be stressed about, coming into my first year of college was a menagerie of unreasonable triggers. For example, I was stressed about color coordinating my notebooks and folders (supplies I eventually found I didn’t necessarily need). The biggest stressor for me was worrying about finding friends. Making friends was something that I hadn’t had to worry about since Kindergarten, because even though I’ve made friends along the way, I’ve never had to start completely over. I was moving to a new state, with new people, and a lot of new cows. I was coming from a city where I had to purposefully drive to see cows, so it was a big shift in my usual environment. It felt like being thrown in the deep-end with no lifeguards. What my fear didn’t tell me was that I would meet some of my favorite people in the world. Friends,  professors, and maybe even some short lived allies were my biggest aid in tackling this first year. During a time when we’re all separated from each other, I wanted to take a moment to share how each person has impacted my life because it’s important to continue to share what you love. 

    Before I get into the heart of the article, I would like to thank one of the first people I met. When I was moving in, I was a mess. I cried almost the whole morning, and I was wearing my Mom’s sunglasses to cover up the fact that I was crying (surprise, it didn’t work), and we were trying to run some last minute errands. We walked into the Food Mart on Main Street, and the woman who owns the shop didn’t say anything about the hazard that was my crying face. While I was checking out, she asked if I was moving in, and at my confirmation she gave me one piece of advice. She said: “It may seem like the end of your world now, but it’s just the world growing. You’ll find your feet again once the earth settles, and you’ll love it even more. You got this.” I know it sounds cheesy, but as an incoming Freshman with no friends, and no clue about what’s to come, it was one of the most comforting things I could have heard. I wasn’t “get over it” and it wasn’t over indulging me, it was a happy medium that helped me more than she probably knows. Thank you, and I hope another devastated freshman can find their way to your door. 

One of the first people I met at Kutztown University was my friend Julianna. She’s a Freshman psych major and lived right across the hall from me and my roommate. I met her on move-in day when you meet about 5,000 people, but didn’t clock her until our first Target trip. I know it’s what everyone says, but Target is one of my favorite places. My sister and I go there together when we’re bored, I used to go there when I needed to practice driving (and wanted some Pretzel M&Ms), and when I was having horrible days. I keep my eye out for good things at Target, and one of those things was Julianna. Our floor was planning on having a face mask night with The Bachelor, and I wanted some snacks, so a bunch of us went. I remember telling the shitiest joke on the car ride there and hearing Julianna laugh at it. I know most of you have never heard her laugh before, but it’s an infectious laugh that once she starts, you can’t help but laugh along(especially when she laughs for 20 straight minutes and you can hear it from your dorm room across the hall). Her laugh was the first thing that made me want to talk to her. Getting to know Julianna was definitely one of the best opportunities I’ve had this semester because she is kind, witty, and even though she can tell you how it is, she also knows how to validate you. She is the best hype man, and a great motivator (especially when it came to those hard weeks of not wanting to go to choir). On top of all that, she is one of the best nappers I have ever seen, and her skills really impress me. She’s suffered through countless rants of my stress, and she is a great Zumba partner. She makes me laugh as hard as she does, and I think that is a feat in and of itself. 

    The second great friend I made this semester is Julianna’s roommate, Pam. She’s a Sophomore Marine Biology major. Meeting Pam came a little later because she hadn’t moved in when all the Freshman moved in (who would blame her? We were all very chaotic). Pam snuck up on me, because there wasn’t a specific moment where I decided I wanted to be her friend, she just was. She’s in pretty much every good memory I have at Kutztown, and that’s the way I like it. Not only is she super smart (Marine Biology and Math), but she’s also hilarious. She, Julianna, and I always get caught up in these super complex scenarios of the most random thing that could be happening in the world. We once talked about what the documentary for the KoolAid man would be like for thirty minutes. It got intense. One of the biggest things that connected me to Pam was, one day when we were walking to Zumba, we started talking about how much we love crafting. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but besides Target, Michaels is my favorite store. I love making things, and so did Pam. She loves to embroider and make stupid crafts with me. We made Tiny Witch Hats at Halloween and hid them around each other’s rooms to find them (we then repeated that process with Gnomes and Tiny Santa Hats). We made an Advent calendar for the month of November (because who says it has to be December specific). The last thing we crafted was a tiny version of Julianna’s future dream home. But not only is she smart, craft, and shares my love of Gordon Ramsey, she also was there for me when I was struggling. When I had an emotionally tough week, and she had an essay to write, there was no hesitation to let me in her room while I cried. I don’t like to cry often, and when I do, there aren’t many people I like to do it with, but sharing that experience with someone does create trust, and that’s important. 

    Surviving without Julianna and Pam would have been hard, if not impossible. They got me into Love Island (an addiction I’m not sure I needed), they indulged my fun white board drawings that were themed to the month and all featured Gordon Ramsey, and they provided a safe space to get away to and too look forward to. Most meals were had with at least one of them, and pretty much every night was spent in their room (or at Zumba where we were told to Shake it!). I get to live with them next year, and while I’m happy I don’t have to start from scratch again, I’m glad I could this year to meet Julianna and Pam. I want to thank them for allowing me to be their friend (and for listening to all of my TV Show rants. They’re a doozy)

    College, believe it or not, is about learning. One of the most fundamental parts of learning is connecting with those around you, and part of that group of people is professors. When starting my first day, I ended up writing down my schedule wrong and going to all of my Professor’s offices instead of their classrooms. This made for a very hectic and stressful first day, but the first time I felt at peace with that mistake was in my First Year Seminar Class, also called FYS. I took Young Adulting, a class all about how to handle the pressures of being a Freshman and the world that we’re going to enter as adults. We got to read The Hate U Give, and discuss the political conversations around the topics of the book, and we got to engage with people that all have different beliefs. Aside from that, I met a Professor that made me feel comfortable to share in and outside of the classroom. Professor Heather LaBarre might be one of the most important people I got to meet this semester because, while the world is scary, it’s important to know that you have adults by your side. On the first day of class she said “I’m probably going to put a lot of this into context by using Harry Potter and The Avengers”, and from that moment I knew I wanted to get to know her. I was terrified, because even though she was the furthest thing from terrifying, it was a new boundary that I had yet to test. First, I blazed through The Hate U Give because it would give us something to talk about. Then, Professor LaBarre approached me with a book selection (that I devoured in two days). From there, talking to her after class became something I looked forward to every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. She always provided engaging conversation about things that we were both passionate about, and whenever I suggested reading to her, it felt accepted and like it was a comfortable space to share what I love. This relationship is something that I treasure because everyone should feel safe and important in their life, and everyone should feel like what they love matters. It was amazing to find someone that I could talk with and feel encouraged to try new things. She’s the reason that I’m writing for HerCampus Kutztown, and her encouragement is something I will always remember and cherish. I want to thank her for being an amazing support, and for letting me rant about Marvel while making the conversation intelligent and meaningful, (and about Tom Hiddleston). Also, thank you for introducing me to so many good YA books, because they have definitely filled a void. 

    It’s hard to believe that my Freshman year is already almost over, and I hate to admit that people were right when they say time flies in college. I’m grateful for everything that I have achieved and everyone that I have met this year, and can’t wait to see where the world takes all of us. I wish all incoming freshmen well, and hope that you can find people that mean as much to you as my friends do to me.