I have started this letter over five times, trying to describe exactly how I’ve felt about the past seven years. The move itself was less than pleasant, with me kicking and screaming the whole way down because like hell I was going to enjoy Florida with it’s heat and humidity and not where my friends were.
But Time is patient and persistent and I eventually made new friends and the heat and humidity grew bearable (most of the time). And even after swearing that college would be my out of the Sunshine State, I surprised everyone (including myself) in choosing Florida State University to be home for four years.
I can honestly say I owe so much to the seven years I spent in Florida, growing from the maudlin teenager to the more (or less) worldly adult* I am today.
The most important thing I learned: It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you have people, be they family or friends, who love and care for and support you, then you can find happiness anywhere.
I am so lucky to have had so many people in my life to inspire and encourage me; to allow me to figure out who I am with little to no fear of judgement; to be silly with; and to make so many memories that I will cherish forever.
I learned not to shut out opportunities based on personal prejudices. Had you told me that I was going to go to a Florida university up until half way through my senior year, I would have laughed in your face. There was no way that was going to happen.
Now I cannot imagine my life without FSU and all of the people that I met and all the opportunities that I have taken advantage of. I might not have ever gone to China in 2011. Or got to be a tour guide in Florence, Italy. Or even the amazing adventure that took place this summer.
I probably would have found swing dancing in some form or another. (I have always wanted to try it, having been a fan of old movies, like the Marx Bros movies, etc.) But would I have met all the wonderful people that I can call friends, even family? Such a question are unanswerable and even unimportant. What is important is what has happened and how I have chosen how it has made me grow into the person that I am today.
I will love and cherish all the people that I met; all the memories that I made; all the lessons that I have learned. And while I now look to a very different setting for my future and its adventures, I will look back on this chapter in my life as a positive experience.
I hope that as I move forward in my life, in whatever direction that it takes, for better or for worse, I remember the lessons that I learned, the people I have met, and the several persons I shed to become who I am today. I hope that I will stay in touch, in some small way, with the people and the places that have become a part of my life. And I wish everyone all the best and hope that, wherever we may end up, Florida will always be our home.
– I know, I’m still getting used to it too.