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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

How do I even begin to describe how I feel toward the band that has been with me for more than half of my life? Utter gratitude and love come to mind. I am forever grateful for R5 and everything they have gotten me through over the years. Although they are no longer a band, their legacy will stick with me for the rest of my life (literally, because I have a tattoo of their logo).

I became a fan of R5 in the 5th grade after watching Ross on Austin & Ally and fell head over heels for his character Austin Moon. I discovered his siblings and music through googling his IMDb page. I remember thinking Ross’s older sister Rydel was the coolest; I used to copy her style (heart-shaped sunglasses!),  and even her Instagram captions- when I was younger, I even attempted to play the keyboard like she does. Coincidentally, we were both named after characters from movies our moms love, we both love James Franco… and we have both had a crush on a guy who is a family friend. I had the cringiest R5 fanpage on Instagram in 2013 and it’s still up so I can look back and laugh at the ridiculous captions and awfully photo-shopped pictures of me and Ross. Somewhere out there is also a picture of me pretending to kiss his wax figure at Madame Tussauds. Hopefully, someday we can take a real picture together!

To many, it may appear that my love for R5 just seems like a crazy obsession, but to me it runs much deeper than that. Their music, YouTube videos, TikToks, posts, and music videos have always been a source of light in my darkest times, a safe place to escape from the world, a reminder of people I love, and they bring about pure happiness and joy. I love keeping up with the Lynch family and watching them celebrate many holidays and special occasions in fun and creative ways. I love that they consider close friends family as well; from my own experience I also truly believe that you do not need to be related by blood to be family. Watching the many vlogs of the Lynches, Funks, De St. Jeors, and Laufers makes me excited to have my own family one day and create our own cute traditions.

I never thought this band would have such a big impact on my life and who I am, because I have gone through countless phases of obsessing over certain celebrities or artists and then forgetting about them and moving on to the next one, but R5 is so special to me because I grew up with them and I have so many amazing memories of people and experiences tied to their music.

It still breaks my heart to this day that R5 broke up on March 1st, 2018 (as well as Rydel and her then-boyfriend Ellington Ratliff, the Lynch’s family friend who played the drums for R5). I also, believe it or not, have never seen them perform live as R5. It genuinely makes me cry when I think about it sometimes, because I missed out on so many iconic eras within the fandom as well as Rydel’s tea parties, and I will never hear them sing my all-time favorite song, “Easy Love.” However, I know that everything happens for a reason, and the day I do finally get to hug the Lynches and tell them how much I love them, it will be extra special and worth the wait. R5 will always have a huge place in my heart. “Here comes forever.”

Melanie Bumpus is a freshman at Pace University majoring in Communication Studies (and fluent in Arrested Development quotes). She is either at a concert or watching 10 Things I Hate About You for the millionth time. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm9551530/