Four years, and what seems like a lifetime later, I'm beginning to realize how incredibly wrong I was.
Since the second I set foot in my dorm-room apartment in Snow Hall my freshman year, I've heard echoes of neighbors and friends and family members telling me how I was "doing college right," and just how fun everything looked.
Some days, it was the worst and I just wanted to go home to my mom and I won't deny that, but for most of the last four years I've been spinning in this state of wonder at the things that were happening.
Tomorrow when we wake up, everything is going to be pretty much exactly how it was today and completely different at the same time. Today, we're part of a special group of people, a community, an Aggie family if you will. In Marina Keegan's speech/essay "The Opposite of Loneliness," she puts into words the feelings I can't quite wrap my head around. "[USU] is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. Acapella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers--partnerless, tired, awake. We won't have those next year. We won't live on the same block as all our friends. We won't have a bunch of group texts. This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse, I'm scared of losing this web we're in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now."
For the last three years, I've hated being the one that got left behind. Now, I'm scared to be the one leaving people behind.
I'm that nervous kind of excited that twists your stomach in knots and makes you bounce up and down with anticipation, but I'm equally as terrified. I'm walking into a new house, a new job, and a new city, and leaving behind a place that holds four years worth of magic and memories and heartbreak and love and a large part of who I am.
Because college for me was a dream, but it was so many other things too.It was all-night study sessions and endless amounts of brownie batter and popcorn with "Call Your Girlfriend" playing in the background.
It was saying goodbye to the first boy I really loved, and watching his truck pull out of my driveway while the realization that I didn't know if the goodbye's we'd just said were for two years or forever.
It was sending my best friends on missions, holding down the Single Snitch fort, and watching old friends meet new friends.
It was the sound of the Sweetheart song, the sound of Logan Canyon's wind, and the smell of Charlie's seven minutes before close.
It was countless ice cream runs when things didn't work out, and dancing like fools at wedding receptions when they did.
It was ethnic hair care products, Nutella Banana Bread, and heading to the Lonely Bench with the Snitches when things got overwhelming.
It was waiting for P-Day, waking up for pre-meeting, and Monday's pin attire.
It was jumping--not just stepping--out of my comfort zone and trying
It was a boy I fell in love with, a girl I learned to live with, a professor who changed my mind, and several dozen people who changed my life.
It was giving up old dreams and setting out after new ones.
It was refusing to join a sorority, and not being able to stop the tears three years later as I said goodbye to the house that had become home.
It was moving in with strangers, saying "yes" to everything, and dyeing my hair purple.
It was breaking rules and making rules and speed-walking away from hot-tub-rule-enforcing landlords in the middle of the night.
It was paint-fight Twister, Tuesday Tacos, and $1 movie theater popcorn without the movie.
It was watching my best friends fall in love, fraternity formals, and being the only real winners during the world's longest game of hide and seek.
It was midnight drives through the canyon and more spoken word poetry than I can fit on a single playlist.
It was peachy dews and peachy penguins and not nearly enough dollar nug nights.It was "family dinner," and Strata [almost] all-nighters and mission farewells and wedding receptions.
It was Snow 102, Pineview 35, and everything that happened in Room 22.
It was SOAR days and burrito truck runs and falling in love with a little town with bad air and too much snow.
It was worlds colliding, and hearts breaking, and new beginnings.
Today, we walked into a new chapter of who we are, but I found a lot of who I am in this little town.
I fell in love with a place where the sagebrush grows because of the things that happened here.
I discovered a sense of adventure in it's nooks and crannys and all of your canyons.
I found my best friends, an education I'm passionate about, and a real idea of who I am within this little valley.
I made it through eight hellish finals weeks, two dramatic breakups, three incredible summers, and four of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life.
Here's to you, USU. Thanks for everything.