A LETTER TO COLLEGE STUDENTS

November 1, 1999

Maybe the times have gone, the faces, I recall. But things in this life change very slowly, if they ever change at all. The scary part being that we've all been hit with change lately, and it doesn't seem to have come slowly at all.

Do you remember the day you left home? I'm sure that you do. But I'll bet that what you remember even more clearly, were the days in the week before you left. You know...the days you spent getting addresses and phone numbers and trying to figure out how to say good bye to everyone you've loved for as long as you could remember.

Do you remember standing by your best friend's car one night, after midnight, trying to sum up the meaning of a friendship you'd managed to maintain through thick and thin for years? Do you remember how hard that was, to think of how to say good bye to that person? It was nearly impossible, wasn't it, to give them one last hug and turn around and walk inside?

I'll bet part of what you remember was the night before you left, kissing your boyfriend or girlfriend good bye for one last time. Just knowing that you'd have to turn around and walk back inside was almost motivation enough not to leave at all. Stepping back to take one last look at that person you love--it's really scary.

And you go and tell yourself that you won't find anyone new. You won't ever replace your old friends. You'll never fall in love again. It's really crazy what kinds of things can happen when you don't mean for them to.

You get to a new place full of strangers. You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes, you come across some extraordinarily special people. They have tears to shed too. They left people behind. They're in love with that guy or girl back where they used to live, and they all want someone to talk to. So you talk.

Talk is good. You form bonds you never thought you'd form. You call your old friends and tell them about the new ones. Sometimes, they don't understand. Sometimes, you hurt their feelings. Sometimes everyone is just a bit jealous. You miss your boyfriend or your girlfriend.

One day you're sitting in the park, thinking about all that stuff you really didn't want to leave, and a stranger sits down near you. Sometimes that person stays a stranger. Other times you talk to him or her. Sometimes you experience things you didn't want to ever happen. Sometimes you're interested in that person who isn't your boyfriend or girlfriend at home. Sometimes college is really complicated.

Sometimes you stay together. Other times you break up. Sometimes you think you've done the wrong thing by coming so far away from home. And sometimes when you start thinking like this, it's time to make a change. So when this happens, you sit down, put The Eagles in the stereo and turn on "Sad Cafe," and wonder if you still recall all the faces from your past. If you do, you're doing well.

So you pick up the phone, and you call them all just to say, "Hi, I love you, I'm thinking about you." And then just as an afterthought, you say, "You know, I'm really learning a lot from college. I wish you'd come here to visit all of my friends. They're very important to me, and I think they'd love you. You'd love them. Because after all, this is college.

College is a growing experience. Growing experiences cause change. Change is hard. But it makes you stronger. Call your mom. Call your bestfriend. Call your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or your ex, if that's how it worked out. Tell them hello. Tell them you miss them. Tell them you love them. And then, turn off the stereo, leave your dorm room. Go to a friend's room, give them a big hug, and say, "Thank you so much for being here. I love you." I promise you'll feel better.

Pass this along to an old friend whom you've lost touch with. Or pass it onto a new friends, you've made in the last couple of months. I thought I would pass this along to you. Hope everything is going well. I love you and miss you.

--- Author Unknown --- Sent in by Lisa --- New Mexico