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It Took a Long Time for Me to Meet "My People" in College but the Wait was SO Worth It

There's a quote that I bet most of you have heard before that says that "the best things in life are worth waiting for" and I can not think of a better phrase to sum up the last eight months of my life. 

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I grew up in a small-ish town, I mean yes the population is around 34,000, but everyone knows everyone and my hometown is very tight-knit and we pride ourselves on our strong community support. Two years ago, I packed up my life and moved 433 miles away from the place that I had spent the last 18 years of my life. 

I am very much a homebody. I am so grateful to have such strong bonds with my entire family: my younger brother is my absolute best friend in the entire world, and my parents are my biggest supporters and the best role models a girl could ask for. I'm fortunate to live 5 minutes from my grandparents, 15 minutes from my Nana, 3 streets down from my aunt, uncle, and cousins, across the river from my other cousins and within a two-mile radius of all my childhood best friends. 

The people I sat on the carpet with during Kindergarten are the same people I walked across the stage at graduation 13 years later. The same friends I made when I was 5 were the friends that I did life with for 13 years (& still am, just hundreds of miles apart in different directions).

That being said, I think you can imagine how difficult it was for me to pack up and move to a college 8 hours away from the only place I had ever called home and from my whole family and the only friends I had at that point in my life.

It. Was. Rough. 


I had a lot of fears coming to college, but by far the biggest concern I had was if I would be able to find friends and build strong relationships with a new group of people to fill the gap that I now had in my life. 

I can't speak on behalf of every college student but based on conversations I've had with people, making friends in college is a common concern, so I wasn't alone. The friends I had in my life at this point were the friends I made when I was five so it's safe to say that I had kind of forgotten how to make friends. Being that one of the big aspects of college life is social events such as parties, and with parties not really being my scene, making friends with something I struggled with my freshman year. 

To save us all from having to recap my entire freshman year of college, let's fast forward to my sophomore year when everything took a turn for the best. 

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If I had to pinpoint a moment when things began to change for me it would without a doubt be when I moved into 514 Lincoln Street. 


514 Lincoln Street is the address for my sorority house, aka my home for the duration of my sophomore year. When I moved into this house eight months ago, I knew my roommate and that was it. 

Living in this house and being surrounded by 35 other girls constantly didn't leave me much of a choice other than to be social and talk to other girls, whereas in my dorm room, I could shut the door and be cut off from everyone. While this environment definitely took getting adjusted to, this was exactly what I needed.


I met several of my current best friends during recruitment, where we bonded over bags of cough drops, touching up one another's hair and taking crazy pictures during spirit week. I met more of my best friends when we all climbed to the top of a parking garage and watched the sunset together. I grew extremely close with my friend Maddie when we woke up at 4am to hop into my car and drive the 8-hour drive home to Ohio when classes got canceled due to hurricane Florence. I knew I could always talk about golf and sports with my friend Lauren, and whenever I think I broke myself, I can go to her to have her reassure that I'm fine. I grew even closer with my roommate and sorority twin because I sleep a mere 5 feet from her. I grew extremely close to my friend Jess when she road in my car to and from Greenville and then we hiked 9 miles up the side of a mountain together. I bonded with Abby over her overflowing love for Delta Zeta and the fact that both of our moms were DZ's, too. I'm always laughing when I'm around Sarah Kate, I can always count on Alex for private concerts in the backseat of the car, and I know that Victoria will always be down to drive 30 minutes to Lexington for smoothies and avocado toast. I've bonded with Sophie through the countless movies we've watched together, March Madness and hitting whiffle balls with a golf club in the backfield. My little, Katie shares in my love for iced coffee and is always there to pick me up when I'm stressed about an upcoming exam. I look forward to going to bed each night because I know that means I get to talk with Avery for a few minutes, even if it is while we're brushing our teeth. My freshman year roommate, Sophie, lives next door and I love that I'm able to text her at any given time and she's always down to go grab cupcakes. 

From late night cookout milkshake runs to weekend road trips to the beach, game days in Willy B or rainy nights in the upstairs tv room watching scary movies, studying together in the library or watching David Dobrik videos piled into my tiny twin-sized and everything in between, I finally found my people. 

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I used to think that home could only be one place, and for the longest time I never wanted home to be anywhere but my hometown. But I was quick to learn that that isn't necessarily the case. Home will always be Columbus, Ohio but home will also always be wherever my friends are. 


I have found a home within the hearts of each and every one of my friends here in Carolina. I know that no matter what, I can always count on my best friends to be there for me through the ups and downs and every moment in between. I have found the best support system and I really can't accurately put into words how much they mean to me. To my friends, if you all are reading this, thank you from the very bottom of my heart. 

To Lynn, Lauren, Sophie, Maddie, Jess, Alex, Sarah Kate, Avery, Abby, Victoria, Katie, and Sophie:
Thank you for being my home, I am beyond grateful for each and every one of you and I can not imagine my life without you all in it. Every day I get to spend calling you all my best friends is truly a gift and I can not wait to see what the future has in store for us. You all have some of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met and you push me to become a better person. Thank you for loving me even when I'm stressed about exams or when I'm crying because I'm homesick, thank you for loving me even when I keep you awake to watch Ohio State games with me and thank you for loving me through all of my quirks and weird habits. As we prepare to head into three months apart, just know that I will be counting down the seconds until I can give you all the biggest hugs and until all the pieces of my home away from home are finally back together. Thank you for being my people. 

xoxo,
Ri

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