For Matt, Tim, Andrew and Grace.

It’s funny. I was thinking today how many people I’m still truly connected with from college.

Social media doesn’t truly count. It gives you a highlighted glimpse into people’s lives. A reel of bests, worsts, but never the in-betweens.

You don’t know how they’re really doing.

You don’t know what they’re really up to.

I thought back to college today. My baby brother is heading off to start his freshman year, and that pushed me into throwbacks and memories and “good ol times”.

But we’re they really good ol times?

I look back at my own freshman year and I think about all the people I called “friend”. All my original ride or dies and the people I was convinced would one day be in my wedding. How many of them do I still talk to?

I can’t think of even one. Freshman year was five years ago. I’m a completely different person now.

There are many people who left the school after the first semester, or the first year. One or two that I lost contact with despite trying my hardest to keep up the friendship. I think of one person in particular. We called each other siblings. His name was Doug. I think about him sometimes. He pretty much dropped off the face of the earth. Stopped returning my texts after a while. I hope he’s doing okay, wherever he is. He was a good kid.

Sophomore year was different. I had good roommates, who I grew close with. One is married now, with a one-year-old and another on the way. Despite her living less than three hours from me, I don’t find the time to visit like I ought to. Another roommate from that year lives in my state. I haven’t seen her in years. The last roommate from that year and I still talk occasionally, but she just moved to Maryland for a new job, so I can’t imagine we’ll be seeing much of each other in the next few years. I know I scored an invite to her wedding, though. We were roommates my remaining years at college.

Sophomore year also had me getting more solidified into my major’s programs. I was a performance major, and soon my classes had pretty much all the same students popping up. We all grew pretty close, or so I thought. It seems that high school never ends, as Bowling for Soup complains about in their song. Although instead of it being in Hollywood, as they say, I suggest that some people simply never grow out of the cliques, resentment, and prejudice. I didn’t learn this until junior/senior year, however.

Now I myself am not perfect. Obviously. In college I was still a bit annoying, having not quite matured to the state I am now… ha.

There were certainly students who found me annoying, and at times I didn’t realize that. How could ANYONE not like ME? I’m a people person. Everyone likes me.

Junior year came around, I continued to grow, and change, and meet more people. I learned new lessons and was taught that people were not always as they seemed. This was disheartening.

By the time I reached my senior year, I was depressed. Very, very depressed. I stayed one semester in 2018, and I did not graduate college. I grew overwhelmed by the expectations, overwhelmed by the people I thought were my friends but would talk about me behind my back. Were we not adults? Were we not supposed to be more mature now than we used to be?

Instead of exploding at them and being angry, I instead withdrew. I stayed in my room often. Checked in sick and missed many classes. This was the most depressed I had ever been and ever have been to this day.

Withdrawing and not socializing is the most uncharacteristic thing I could have possibly done. A few people got worried. One “friend” came to see me in my room and informed me that everyone was talking about me. Perhaps she meant well, but I saw that as a sign that these people were certainly NOT the people I wanted to be associating myself with any longer. I was disappointed. I was heartbroken. I had considered these people to be my family.

I was completely broken. But there were some people who lifted me up. Specifically, there was a girl in the department with me who loved me unconditionally and had always distanced herself somehow from the animosity and unkind behavior of the speech department.

She was my “saving grace” during my last semester at school. She saved me from going even deeper into the depression. I hung out with her and her roommates and we had a grand time. I can’t tell you I was no longer depressed, but I can tell you that she saved me.

Two other friends also helped me: Tim and Matt. I can’t recall much specificity of their involvement in my life during the semester, but Matt and Tim are my go-to friends to talk about things going on in my life. I lean on them for advice, whatever the subject. They’re honest, supportive, and funny. Despite how far away they both live from me, I’m so glad that they chose to be my friends and choose to remain my friends through it all.

Lastly, we have Andrew. Andrew is my ex-boyfriend. We are perhaps one of the most congenial ex-couples you could ever meet—but that’s probably because we dated for a total of 28 days, and never even held hands. Andrew is now getting a masters in my state, and we’ve been able to hang out very often since he’s been here. It’s been an absolute joy to be able to continue to get to know him, to introduce him to my home friends, my family, and to have new adventures with him. It will never not be funny to joke “this is why we broke up” in front of others and have them panic. I love your passion for the medical field, for cats, and for video games. You feel like home to me because it feels like you’ve always been around. You are my oldest college friend who’s still here for me, and you know I appreciate the hell out of you.

And those are it. Four people. From three and a half years of being my bubbly, people-person self. Thinking I made so many friends that would last a lifetime.

Look on my Facebook or Instagram and you’ll see hundreds of people I am “friends” with since going to college.

But am I truly friends with them? Do we connect? Do we support each other?

Friendship goes both ways. Never forget that. You should never be doing all the work in a friendship. In that case, someone is using you. Get out of there. Run. Save yourself.

Depression leaves scars, and never truly goes away. It’s always in the back of your head and can pop up at any moment, ready to strike again.

So leave toxic people behind.

Hold onto the true people.

And never stop fighting to make the world a better place.

Thanks so much for reading. It truly means the world to me.


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