Well, shit. It’s finally here. The thing we’ve been fearing and dreading: graduation. Your graduation. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do without you here. You’re moving on and I’m finally realizing that things will be different next year without you. I’m going to be different next year without you.
It sounds crazy, but I’ve never done college without you by my side and as my guide. From freshman year to now I always counted on you to get me my alcohol, hold my hair back, and wipe my tears away. I always counted on you to be here and now that you’re leaving? I’m completely terrified. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like to walk into chapter and not pass you doing ritual and make stupid faces at each other (every time you didn’t skip it to drink at the pool, of course). I don’t know what it’ll feel like to pregame and get ready for every social and every date night together. I don’t know what I’ll do without my best friend. You’re the person who introduced me to college and explained the importance of our beautiful family, of hydrating after a night of drinking, and of doing what I want, not what standards wanted me to do. From dancing on bars to taking trips, being my rock and supporting me at my worst, you’re what college is to me. But now? You’re moving on. And honestly? That scares the shit out of me.
I’ve never met anyone who has had more of an impact on me than you have, both in my experiences the past few years and who I have become as I’ve grown. You constantly lift me up when I am down (sometimes from emotion, sometimes from alcohol — who really needs to make a distinction here?) and you teach me a lesson every day. You’ve been there for so many important memories in my life. From the first time I shotgunned a beer to my first real heartbreak, from helping me to choose a little to carry on our family line to a thousand sleepovers at your apartment, endless bottles of wine, deep talks about life that lasted until six a.m. and a thousand other moments that I will cherish forever. You were always my go-to. The person who was always there, not only for me, but for out family. But soon it won’t be like that. Soon it’s going to be different. Soon I’m going to be the one in charge on our line. That one taking over our family.
You have given me a legacy to uphold. When you brought me into this family, you sat me down and explained to me that by being a part of it, I would never be alone again. Just like all of your other promises, you have upheld that one, and I promise that our family will be safe with me as a matriarch. I promise to update you on what’s happening in our college town. I promise to uphold our family rituals and pass down our heirlooms until the day I myself graduate (and then I promise to make my little promise to pass them down as well). I promise to never, ever forget you and I promise to make sure that no one else ever forgets you either.
But I also promise to realize that while my life is still here, yours is moving on. This is your time to be who you want, live where you want, and do what you want. As much as I want to be selfish and hold you here, both physically and emotionally, I know that in a sense, I have to let you go. I have to let you grow up. So while I’m here, still living the college life, I promise to respect you as you grow and change. I promise to still love you, even if we aren’t shotgunning in frat basements or gossiping until 6 a.m. I promise to support you as you chase after your dreams, even if that means putting a little distance in between us.
You have never treated me with anything but overflowing love and respect. You showered me with endless gifts and showed me off every day. You welcomed me to this school, this sisterhood, this family, and to your friendship with open arms, and I am forever thankful for that. I hope that I have given back to you a quarter of what you’ve given to me. And I hope you know that no matter where life takes you, I’ll always be here — loving you, proud of you, and rooting for you.
Even if the big, bad world isn’t ready for you, I know you’re ready for it. Congrats on graduation, big. I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of your journey holds. What the next chapter of our journey holds..