You are not unfamiliar to getting my thoughts in letter form. In fact, you are one of the reasons I consistently write snail mail.
Mostly, there is a lot I should be thanking you for. Like coming to my "directorial debut" a few years ago, or always driving me when we go out for photoshoots.
What I should thank you for most, though, is your unwavering friendship. We have never had drama or anything to strain what we share. You've supported me in my move to Minnesota. As in, you were genuinely cheerful when I told you I got accepted to Macalester. Sadly, not many of my friends were as supportive or happy. Perhaps in part because they were still waiting back from their dream schools, but also because I don't think they comprehended my desire to create and experience outside my hometown.
You definitely comprehend that, Miss-Headed-to-California-to-Attend-Her-Top-Choice-School. Gosh, it would be incredible to visit you! In the meantime, I will stalk the millions of photos you're bound to take. I'm dying to see your perspective of UCSD's tree library, both inside and out.
I wish you the best of luck moving forward, though I know you have the determination to make anything work in your favor. I'm glad to spend the time we have now crafting and discussing our future plans.
You are not how I left you a year ago, or six months ago, or four months ago. You keep changing, growing, regressing, and most of all, challenging me to rethink what I've known.
While much is familiar, a great deal has been reshaped, remolded. For instance, New York & Company is now Bonefish Grill, Rave is now Carmike and that gynecologist office next to US 1 has recently cropped up. (And it is, might I add, an eyesore.) Plus that house by the S curved chopped down their tall trees. What are we coming to here?
When I visited last for my spring break, K-12 students were still in school and now they are back again, just a year older. That's absurd.
Some things don't change, though. You are still where my best friends and I can come together and laugh over the silliest conversations.
Today, Puja, Aniesa and I got to spend time together before we part again. I snapped the above picture only to find it's a) too dark and b) weirdly stained, making it a less-than-perfect representation of a perfect day. (Not the mention the scanner was dirty...ugh.) Basically we wandered Books-A-Million, ate nachos, saw The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and indulged in ice cream. Good fun.
I suppose that's the magic of hometowns: you will always be reunited with people you know and love and be reminded where you came from.
There will be no lack of posts and articles like this one. You've probably read most them; written by college survivors and veterans addressing you, the newest recruits, and relinquishing kernels (colonels?) of truth. And while I can share some gathered wisdom, I will preface it with this: You will probably have a different experience than me.
The most exciting thing about college is its possibilities. There is no magic formula I can give to guarantee academic or social success. You will have to discover it for yourself!
Here are just some of the things I've learned:
Shower flip flops are not necessary. I'm serious. I survived a whole year without any feet fungus.
Be nice to everybody and keep an open mind. There have been several people that I initially said I would never talk to for whatever reason. And guess what? They ended up being some of my closest friends.
Don't always contact to meet someone for a meal. Okay, this might not work for those folks at huge universities, but at my small campus, I never liked feeling tied down. Unless I'm making a point to spend time with someone I haven't seen otherwise, I try to sit with different people.
Sleep. Need I elaborate? Health comes first--don't forget that.
Seek out career services. Chances are you can schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor to discuss major/job/life plans or to finally write a proper resume. This will especially bode you well come summer. I had an advantage because I also worked there, but it is open to all and you should use it.
Always consult the syllabus. Save yourself the trouble of asking people about readings, topic of lectures, etc. Instead, be the person who can inform others.
Be mature. This isn't high school.
Don't bring a computer to class. Now, I never did. But when I would see the occasional person on Facebook, I'd have to roll my eyes. Why pay so much not to pay attention?
Get off campus. Even if you live in a college town, explore the other local eateries, parks, etc.
Avoid studying in bed. You won't learn much this way.
Avoid studying in your room. I don't think you'll learn much this way either.
Save your money. College is a good time to curb your coffee habit or generally spend less on potentially non-essential items.
For those who have lived through it, what else would you add?
I guess my last token of advice would be to have a positive attitude.
You were driving me to the airport at the crack of dawn when you remarked, "It would've been about this same time last year that we were emailing each other."
And you're right. August 2012 we found out we were soon to be co-workers. I was shocked, yet flattered, that you emailed me to introduce yourself. We then exchanged facts about ourselves over the course of several days until you left for MacWard Bound. Little did I know you would meet my roommate, Zoe, on that trip and we'd thus see each other outside of work.
This summer, as you've noted, you've grown up. During the year, you were wilder, more unpredictable, more inconsiderate. But I think that's because it was before you got to know anyone.
And before we got to know you.
Thanks for being helpful this summer, first with my move, and then driving me to the airport. You're great.
I was about to leave the contemporary exhibit when I saw you. Dark blue polo shirt, off-green pants, brown moccasins and the cutest curly brown hair. You struck me as much as any artwork on display. (I wonder, are we all just performers?)
I couldn't say 'hi' because the relative silence of the museum atmosphere stifles that sort of interaction. Unless it's a tour, in which case, by all means, the docent will drone on and then ask you for your baloney interpretation. But we weren't on a tour. No. We were alone in one particular room for a long time.
Standing in the doorframe, I began sketching the wall featuring Roy Lichtenstein's Peace Through Chemistry I. It was bright blue accent to the otherwise whiter-than-white walls. Out of my periphery, I saw you make your way towards it. Along the way, you checked your phone and I felt a brief moment of sadness.
And then you sat down on the bench directly in front of the painting. Directly in front of my line of vision. Although we were at least 30 feet apart, and your back was turned, I thought we were sharing an intimate moment. So, you entered my drawing-- and for the record I felt slightly creepy for doing it. But you stayed there...a while. I thought maybe you could hear my pencil scratching the paper because when I stopped, you got up.
I walked further into the exhibit, hoping to muster up the courage to say something. Anything. After a few more rooms, I realized it was futile. So I left.
If for some bizarre reason you are reading this, please know I wanted to talk to you. I really did.
Can you believe our time as summer roommates has officially ended?
It's incredible how much and yet how little can be crammed into time frames. (Time frames and their existence is a whole 'nother story.) But really, it feels like I was just settled into living in my room in our triple before BAM, I had to get up and shlep my stuff elsewhere. Right now the Kirk room is empty. Hallow. Blank.
So what does this mean for us?
As we start over, amongst the new spaces to decorate, old friends to greet, and boxes to unpack, I hope we don't erase the time we had together, the small fraction of the year when we got to interact beyond meals and short visits.
Well, when I tried to interact at least. For the most part, we drifted away. I realized about halfway in that we had separate interests to explore-- independently.
No joke, my two jobs consumed me and slowly yours did too. Except yours also allowed you to bond with other folks, some familiar and some new, and all the tour guide jokes/anecdotes eventually excluded me.
I'm not sure any of this exclusion is a bad thing. The times we've had to talk at length, we've mutually agreed it was more circumstantial and were fatigued most of the time, preventing quality time spent. I know that didn't stop you from hanging out with Minah exclusively, and sometimes well into the night, and, well, that's fine.
Thanks for reminding me how it feels to be left out. While it hurt, it forced me to understand that I won't always be considered as I consider others. I admit I am pretty sensitive--and I believe you never did it maliciously--but the fact that it happened was enough to make me...disappointed. I dunno, I thought I deserved better? Maybe coming from a quad I had too high expectations?
That aside, let's not forget that WE SURVIVED. We worked our bums off during the week and did our best to enjoy the Twin Cities on the weekends. We played Wii in the loch prior to the camp invasion. We lived through said camp invasion. I got to meet your Mom and close friend, Drew. We updated each other on our TV watching. The list goes on...
In short, I'll miss you and I can't wait to come visit you in your new "incredible" room.
And I hope there's room for me there, so to speak.
I love you as a friend, Morgan. You know that will never change. Even if you weren't exactly the roommate I expected, that doesn't nullify our friendship.
YOU ARE THE WORST. You made me miss a day of BEDA!
Thanks to you, my feet are aching, my brain is fried, and I'm desperately shoving my crap into boxes. I keep asking myself: "Why can't I live minimalistic? Why haven't I downsized? What is my problem?"
The only way I'm posting this on the 14th is because I'm cheating the system. See, you are corrupting me.
You have always been a smart, funny, and caring older brother. Whenever I would fight with Andy, you were there to intervene. I've looked up to you my entire life. The way you were able to do well academically but also have a pretty active social life-- I envied that.
I love watching you play video games. (Okay, loved. It's just because I don't understand League of Legends, okay? Kirby has been and will to continue to be more my speed.)
Remember when we shared the front room? When I was maybe five, six and you were not much older? We used to tune the blue boombox to 107.1 AIA and fall asleep to the music. I remember hearing Train's "Drops of Jupiter" and I've forever associated that song with this memory.
Even if I was up to writing paragraphs upon paragraphs right now, I could never come close to expressing the gratitude I feel for knowing you.
I hope we do share our inspirational quotes/song lyrics/whatever daily, or at least as often as we can.
First of all, Happy Birthday! Yet how you've bent the space-time continuum to turn 20 already I will never know. You've always been more science-y.
I know we've been friends a long time since you were featured in my inaugural post. That shiz was a long time ago! I mean, we're talking 2008, when we were still entrenched in high school. Can you even remember half the stuff that went down then? Well, besides you chemically straightening your hair, which, to be fair, I bet many have forgotten. (I clearly haven't.)
In 2008, you were also my best guy friend. Sadly, that's not true anymore. I don't have any best guy friend nowadays. I have good friends all around.
I know we don't talk much or at all, but I can't discredit your friendship those years we did talk. We talked quite a bit, actually. How did we never run out of things to talk about?
Thanks for everything, Zack. You are pretty darn sweetawesome.
Today I went to St. Paul's Indiafest with several friends and I thought of you.
I thought of all the Indian food you've had me try over the years. Of course, I don't know the name of virtually anything because you'd laugh and say you didn't know the English word for it. Still, I enjoyed everything, even if it was, as you cautioned, spicy.
Stingy and not particularly hungry, I opted out of food and got Falooda instead--very sweet!
I thought of you when I saw Sana's and Zoe's henna tattoos. These similar, intricate designs have graced your hands in the past and I always admired them. I almost got my own but the line was an unbearable wait.
Bottom line, I wish you could've been here. Sometimes I forget how effortless it is to talk to you and feel at ease. I felt like I was pulling teeth just to relate on basic levels today. Maybe I'm just done pretending I want to be here. This summer has been more work and hardship than relaxation and fun.
I can't wait to see you and give you the biggest hug.
You make me weep uncontrollably sometimes. In fact, I am on the verge of tears right now. (Okay, I can't blame you--it's probably the sleep deprivation.)
Still, you have me thinking through inexplicable sequences. "Dog fence" somehow made me think of third grade, and typing just now made me think of getting my first laptop, which is tied to immediately signing onto AIM with it and messaging Zack. Zack, who is in San Francisco for an internship and who's birthday is very soon. Maybe I will write my letter to him on his birthday. That would be cool.
Oh. Right. Stay on track. It's hard with you, memory. You're always dragging me away to the darker recesses of mind, grudging up unpleasant thoughts, like how my 8th grade English teacher yelled directly at me when she was addressing the whole class. The class that was misbehaving. It had something to do with crackers during the FCAT. The FCAT that I passed but Kai got a 6 (perfect score) and she gloated about it. That same awards night I didn't get the President Award and it went to my nemesis instead. While all my friends were in shock, I kind of expected it. I'm great, just not in the way that garners public adoration. That doesn't mean I'm not popular either. What is the difference between popular and well-liked anyway?
Enough of this. I'm going to bed. I read that sleep is good for you memory.
Your email could not have come at a better time. As much as I've enjoyed this summer -- the semi-independence, meeting new people, venturing out, and, of course, earning money -- these past few weeks have been hard. I miss my family. I miss my own bed. I miss the ocean. I miss my Florida friends and other Mac friends. I miss having other goals to work towards.
So thank you for your enthusiastic and comforting words. These next two weeks will be better.
Can you believe I have nearly doubled my music collection this summer alone? I'm working towards refining it. My ipod is running out of space.
I'm very glad you liked my previous suggestions! Here are some songs that have been "the soundtrack of my life" lately. Enjoy!
We skyped for two hours today and here I am, talking to you again in another medium.
Sorry this won't be very long, though. I just watched Starter for 10 with Sana and she loved it, which makes me happy of course. Except now I'm in a post-McAvoy-movie haze. This may not end well.
In other news, Oliver thinks Haroon's name is Harpoon, with a P, and I made an idiot out of myself at dinner. But hey, what's new.
Sana and I also started watched Orange is the New Black after several people I follow on tumblr kept reblogging photosets. It's...well...different. I think I should watch more than the first episode before making any hard judgments.
Well., I think that's everything new that's transpired since we talked this afternoon.
I miss you. I will keep practicing my Alt-J symbol for September in the meantime. And working on your mix!
Your book, The Collective, is perfect. I fear I will never be able to adequately describe my feelings towards it. But I shall try.
The way you've captured what it's like to be a first-year at my college is astounding. I am shocked by how, even twenty years later, certain ideas and practices still permeate the campus culture. Sure, a few things are antiquated, like the chalkboards on everyone's door, but otherwise it is on the nose. Dupre is still prison-like and the bell tradition runs strong. I definitely chuckled when you had to explain what a progressive was ("a series of parties that moved from one off-campus house to another") and what the ringing-the-bell tradition means ("it's when you lose your on-campus virginity"). Too good.
Yes, I may have gone a little crazy sticky-tabbing relatable passages or poignant moments. I am seriously considering buying a copy. This is the kind of book I would own so I can re-read it (often unheard of for me, Stargirl being the ultimate exception)!
I highly recommend it to my friends, particularly fellow Mac students.
"How well do we really know anyone? We only know what people are willing to reveal. It's not that people change. People don't change. They merely hide things from you, and lie."
I am rushing to write this before the day is over. I would've started sooner but we've been busy having fun traipsing around for most of the day!
While I could've done without our gross encounters on the way to the library, I couldn't have done without this new book you assisted me in picking up. Seriously, I will go ahead and claim it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. (More on that at a later date. I think I'll be finished soon.)
Sorry for the detour we took to finally use up my Wet Paint gift card. Of course, had I not bought that pen, we would've missed the cashier's confused look when I asked for pennies. "Wait, do you actually LIKE pennies?" His concern was amusing.
Infiltrating the nearby university's campus center was a great decision, if not to just pose like the statues. Maybe one day, though, they'll have more bike racks. And I hope that couple that we saw by the fountain got to smooch after those dog-walkers left. Gosh, I can't wait for when we go back during the school year. All the people-watching and story-concocting possibilities!
By the way, your polaroid portrait might be one of my favorites to date. We picked a good spot, even if those kids and other parents were milling about. I think they would've been envious if they saw the end result! I mean it.
I'm very glad I met you this summer, Alexandra. You are down-to-earth and such a patient listener. Sometimes that's hard to find these days, so thank you. Playing tennis and amazing adventures like today await in our future!
I haven't even known you for a full year, but you've already made my life immeasurably better.
Thank you for your upmost generosity. Today was a prime example of how you continue to go above and beyond. Dressing up in business attire and taking photos, those posed and those shall-we-say more candid, wasn't necessary. But it help us improve our LinkedIn profiles. (And in the end, we couldn't miss the opportunity to laugh at fake desks and our silly expressions.)
So even though it's a desk job first, we're not drones. We're human. We have lives, we exist outside the office, and we make mistakes. Seriously, thank you for answering my questions and teaching me the ropes. And while you may ask for a lot, you always give equally in return.
The "how are you"s are highly appreciated. On the days when I'm not feeling great, your words of encouragement and sympathy help keep me going. Also that incredibly messy, incredibly emotional day back in the fall when you listened to me hyperventilate as I missed home? Yes, thank you for that. Your support was step one to recovery and enabling me to continue having an amazing first year.
Not to mention, you've taught me practically everything I know about jobs, resumes, alumni reports, you name it. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to battling life after college.
And in case I haven't said it enough: thank you. I look forward to these next three years of self discovery and working hard so when college is over, I will land on my feet.