Today was little brother’s first day of college orientation. This would be weird for me. But before I could even get nostalgic and sap about him growing up I realized that my own “first day of college graduation” was seven years ago.
And in my quickly adding-up 24 years, seven is now a lot. And somehow, it honestly feels so recent! Wasn’t it like five years ago? Right!? RIGHT!?
So, ever since I had this realization I have been happy for my brother and fixated on how fast time has gone by.
That day seven years ago, I remember my mom and I packing up my little green Nissan and hitting the winding, foggy, dark roads that carved the Appalachian mountains from home to Boone, N.C.
As I drove and Mom navigated, I excitedly thought about how I would eventually get comfortable with the turns and exits. I would probably get so familiar with this drive that it would be memorized.
I had no idea.
And as I write this I can see the entire 2 hours and 28 minutes mile marker by mile marker.
Lucky for me, I registered the same time as my good friend, soon to be roommate, starting to be sister, Brooke did. Our moms got to be buddies and so did we. There was an exciting registration and the first looks of a real dorm room. There were so many new faces and exciting food. (What is this oreo delight in the cafeteria!?) There was complaining about walking up Stadium Drive and there was exclamation about how anyone could ever learn their way around campus. Seriously. There is no way that I’ll become familiar with all of these buildings that look so similar. Besides that, when will I ever be in half of them? (I had no clue.)
And that naivety is the best part of college orientation. You are getting your FIRST taste of what life is about to be like. You are full of expectation and guessing. And you have just enough of a preview to have a hint. But, it’s just the beginning.
And that final bit of naivety? It’s the last little bit. You’re bridging the path of no return. In a few short months you will be on the other side and there will be a gap that develops between you and younger kids. You’re growing up. You’re on your own.
That day seven years ago was my first day in Boone, N.C. It was my first day fledging out into the sheltered unknown with Brooke. It was the first day of picking a direction. And it was the first day I met Shanice and Kaitlin.
As Brooke and I went to our first group meeting, we met several people who would likely be living in our building.
Shanice had great hair and was glowing with Appalachian State pride. You could tell this was a girl that Brooke and I could get excited about football games with. (And this was our priority, duh.)
Kaitlin, also had great hair, but she not only didn’t like sports—she liked horses.
Hm. We would have to see about her.
(Side note, she thought Brooke and I were stuck up. Probably because we were whispering about the horses.)
(Additional side note, we went on to enjoy every single football game together. For the most part. Until I became a sports reporter. But that’s a story for another day.)
Fast-forward two months, we kept in touch. First impressions aside, we were going to be neighbors. And then we were going to be roommates. And then it had been four years of living together and the four of us were bawling our eyes out as I was the first one to move out. (Dumb smart-kid decision to graduate a semester early. Another story for another day.)
The girls I first met that first day of college orientation are who were there for me when I graduated. Who have known every single one of my secrets. Who I fought with like sisters. Who I took for granted and who I cherished above some of my blood family. Who I supported with my every bit; who I sometimes was too honest with. Who challenged me. Who accepted me. And who had heavy influence on who I am today.
Me. Brooke. Shanice. Kaitlin.
We were (and are) a family.
Those girls were as important to my age 17 through 21 as the actual courses that I took. They taught me about what it means to be a friend. And they have in turn given me seven years of the most incredible love. They’re the first I tell every piece of news.
I sent my brother a good luck text message today. I wanted him to be excited about the fall. I wanted him to embrace and make some memories. But mostly, I didn’t want him to be afraid to talk to the kid who sits down next to him that he doesn’t know yet.
You’ll never know who they’ll be to you in seven years.
First there were two girls. Me + Brooke.
And then there were four. 2007: Shanice, Me, Brooke & Kaitlin
2006: Shanice, Kaitlin, Brooke, Me, Josette, Crystal
2007: Allison, Kaitlin, Me, Brooke & Shanice
2007: Me + Kaitlin
2007: Me & Brooke
2007: Kait & Brooke
2007: Me, Brooke & Shanice
2008: Me & Brooke (National Championship, baby!)
2009: Me & Kaitlin
2009: Shanice & Me
2009: Brooke & Me ❤ ❤
2010: Shanice & Me
2010: Me & Kaitlin
2011: Kaitlin, Me & Brooke
2012: Me, Brooke, Shanice & Kaitlin
2012: Kaitlin + Me ❤ ❤
2012: Me & Shanice
2012: Brooke + Me.
2012: Me, Shanice + Kaitlin
2012: Kaitlin & Me.
2012: Sha, Kait, Brooke & Me.
2013: Me, Shanice, Kaitlin & Brooke
I have to say, how can you miss a man so much when you have three people as awesome as this in your life. The Sex & the City friends as soul mates line is kind of cheesy; but as I pulled together all of these photos I know it’s true.
2013: Me & Kaitlin
2013: Me + Brooke.
2013: Sha & Me ❤ ❤