Today, I watched my best friends graduate college. University of Chicago, class of 2017. Bachelors of Arts and Science. I’m just starting to appreciate just how lucky I was to have them. They were my first real group of friends.
I met them the day I moved into my dorm. Saturday, September 22, 2013.
We’ve been through so much in the past four years, and I’m immensely proud of all of them. But even more than being just wonderful people in every way, they’ve become my family. As I’ve drifted further and further away from the people I grew up with in New York, they collectively have come to fill that gap.
We have bizarre traditions: Valois o'clock, Kuvia, John Handy. We’ve seen others come and go – due to graduation or voluntary retirement from our whirlwind community. We’ve experienced enough drama for a lifetime. We’ve had late nights discussing career prospects, SOSC readings, relationship woes, strange YouTube videos, and nothing at all. But we’ve stuck together through it all. And today, I stayed in Hyde Park to watch them graduate, together. I even got in on one champagne-soaked photo. Because, even though I may technically be Class of 2018, they will forever be my UChicago family. And I was with them in spirit, if not in body, when President Big Bobby Z conferred upon them their degrees and pronounced them educated.
Though it was bittersweet and emotional and generally difficult to see them graduate without me today, that isn’t to mean I have regrets over the path my life has taken. I’ve had many wondrous opportunities, have lived on my own, explored the world, and grown up. But part of that has meant leaving this newfound family behind. And now, they leave me behind. (Albeit only for a short while, I’ll be graduating very soon myself.) I can’t imagine UChicago without them – fall quarter will be very strange.
I’ve discovered how amazing it is to have a cohesive group of friends. A group of people who share an immense repertoire of jokes, memories both painful and joyous, incredibly odd tastes, and a zeal for each others company. They’ve seen me at my highs and lows, and I’ve seen them struggle and triumph as one only can in college. We’ve all gone through different relationships. Different internships. Different majors. But we’ve shared four years of our lives.
Now, we scatter.
But they will always remain my closest group of friends from college.
I love them all immensely.
They’re my family.