Dear Seniors,

It has been a wild ride, but our time here at Michigan is almost done. We have been here for four(ish) years, starting out with our orientation in the sweltering heat of East Quad, our goofy lanyards and our admiration for dining hall food. We were undecided and ready to be in 32 clubs, excited to play our first ever beer pong game.

Times sure have changed.

We’ve grown up, made some memories, probably done some stupid stuff and either owned it or are a little ashamed, but we will definitely remember those moments when we all part ways in a couple of months. The thing that we are going to remember the most, though, is the friends we have made along the way, the ones who have left an imprint in our hearts and changed our character.

I’m not trying to sound like the “Friends Forever” song by Vitamin C, all sappy and sentimental. After we graduate, yes, things will change. People go to different jobs around the country and world, some will be making great money, some will be living with their parents for a while. But however we start our lives after college, it will be a new beginning for us. Being there for our closest friends will now be more difficult. It is not as simple as hanging out on a Saturday, getting lunch at No Thai! and recapping the previous night’s events. It will take more effort to compensate for the distance between us. The relationship needs to be a two-way street, not a one-way that someone accidentally goes down the wrong way. It’s work, but if you both believe that it is of value, then it will last beyond the day we exit the Big House as graduates.

I had a dream recently where someone told me I was going to die within a year. A little scary at first, but I took it as an opportunity to change some things in my life. My first thought was to figure out who should be in my life, and who should be gone. I went running around to everyone I knew, either saying “I love you!” or “Fuck off, I don’t need you in my life!” Person to person, I put people into these two categories. To be honest, it was very therapeutic. I felt as if I was ridding myself of extra weight, lobbing off negativity and people who brought anger into my life.

I woke up with such a new view. I now could see those throughout my day that I wanted to be in my life from here on out, and for those that I couldn’t care less about after, I plan to part ways. Why not make my dream come to fruition? Why keep those gloomy people in my life?

From what I’ve heard, the real world is tough. There are bosses who might be mean and co-workers who might be incompetent, but for those people in your life that you can choose, keep them positive. Coming to college, we had a chance to have a clean slate, start a new page and maybe recreate ourselves. After college, we have the ability to start fresh again, make new friends that fit into our personalities and preferences. What is the point of voluntarily choosing something that is bad for you? Surround yourself with supportive people, those who will call you out on questionable behavior, those who will give you the best advice, those who will have your back.

But why wait? Start now. Don’t just hold off on getting rid of these damaging people. Start phasing them out or just let them know to their face. You do not need them in your life if they are only causing you grief.

There are going to be so many people and circumstances that bring us down. We need to keep those that are good company near.

Sara Shamaskin can be reached at scsham@umich.edu.

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