A Letter to the Most Important Relationships of My College Years

When you think of love, you probably picture the typical stuff: holding hands, going on romantic dates, exchanging gifts, and so on and so forth. And you wouldn't be wrong! Those are certainly all valid ideas to conjure up at the mention of love. However, love has looked a bit different for me throughout my college years. I've only been on a handful of dates, and none of them ended in anything that you could remotely define as love.

That's not to say that my college experience was devoid of loving and fulfilling relationships, though. Quite the opposite is true, in fact! My college years have been defined by some of the most important relationships that I've been lucky enough to experience, and I think it would be fundamentally incorrect to write them off as invalid simply because they weren't romantic in nature. With graduation around the corner, now seems like the perfect time to look back on the relationships that have defined the last four years of my life.

Friends

When I first started college, I had a major goal: find a girl gang. It was something I always wanted back in high school, and college seemed like the perfect time to finally find a group of girls that would stick together through thick and thin. Luckily for me, Her Campus at UCF offered the perfect chance to find my girl gang and rediscover my passion for writing. I'll treasure the friends that I've made through this organization for my whole life, and I'll always be so grateful that HCUCF led me to them. 

Besides my HCUCF girl gang, I've made so many other close friends throughout my time at UCF. Friends that were there to pick me up when I was at my lowest, support me as I tried to reach my goals, and just generally be there for me. That kind of love is just as powerful as romantic love — if not more so. 

 

Family

Like many college students, I chose to live at home and commute to campus. The goal was to save some money, and I definitely did that. But I also found something else along the way: a stronger relationship with my parents. I was lucky enough to already get along well with them, but spending an additional few years at home only served to strengthen that bond. Just like my friends, my family has always been there for me. They're the first people who hear about my day when I get home and they're always available when I need advice (which is often).

I can't stress enough the value that I've found in having a close relationship with my parents, but I've grown closer with the rest of my family as well. (And with my cat, Stevie, if that counts!) I used to dream of moving away from Orlando to find myself, but — not to be too corny — as they sing in Moana, I think I've found happiness right where I am.

 

Self

Last but certainly not least is my relationship with myself. Self-love is a concept that was only just gaining popularity when I entered college, but it's something that developed within me without my even realizing it. I know myself so much better than I did a few years ago, and I know exactly who I want to be and where I want to go. Sure, there are still aspects of myself that I'm uncomfortable with or wish I could change, but I'm getting better at loving those sides of myself too. And hey, I still have a semester and a half left to fully get it together!