Of all of the adjectives I could use to describe myself, ’emotional’ would not be at the top of that list. Loud, definitely. Funny, maybe. Outgoing, on a good day. But emotional? Probably not. That’s why I was surprised when, after returning to my room and seeing that my roommate had removed her name from the door, I promptly burst into tears.
My roommate moving out wasn’t a surprise or anything. In fact, I’d actually helped her move out and hugged her goodbye that very same day. We were both going to be studying away next semester, her in Buenos Aires, and me in Paris, and I already knew that she was moving out the day before I was.
And even though I had remained composed when we had said our goodbyes, I don’t think it truly hit me until I entered our room, and all traces of her presence were gone. (Except for the few decorations she left hanging accidentally on her desk. She has the bad luck to always leave some personal belongings in the room after she’s already moved out.)
Later in the day, one of my other friends came over to say goodbye, and even though I thought I was prepared, I ended up crying for a while after they left. At this point, I’d already cried more than I had all year, and I hated it.
I began to think about why I was getting so emotional and upset. I already knew that I was going to miss my friends to pieces, but I wondered why it was already so intense, especially since I’d been trying to mentally prepare myself for this all semester.
It reminded me of saying goodbye to one of my best friends from high school, right after we graduated. When we graduated, my eyes were completely dry. Even though we’d be going to different schools, I hadn’t processed that everything was going to change. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when we were saying goodbye for the summer, that it really hit me that we wouldn’t be seeing each other every day, like we had been for the past four years. I had been so excited to finally leave for college, just like I’m extremely excited to be spending the entire spring semester in Paris, but it was hard for me to grapple with the massive amount of change that was about to enter my life.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that one of the hardest parts about going to college is feeling that you’re leaving something behind. When you initially leave for school, you leave your family, but family is something that typically remains constant. Leaving your friends is a bit harder, because there’s no guarantee that you’re going to end up in the same town, or even in the same country. Once you get to college, you meet new people, make new friends, and you adjust. But before you know it, you’re leaving for the summer, or leaving to study away, and there’s another group of people you’ve got to say goodbye to, even if it is only temporary.
Even though this feeling can be really unpleasant, it is a natural part of life. Although I don’t see my close friends from high school every day, they’re still an integral part of my life as people I can depend on. There is no way to imagine my life without them, just as there is no there is no way for me to picture my life today without the friends I’ve made during my time here at NYU.
So, even as I struggle with the knowledge that I won’t be seeing some of my favorite people for months on end, I’m trying to remember that no matter how far apart you are, the people you care about (and who care about you) will always be there when you need them.