Dear College,

The time has come for us, finally, to part ways. It only took six years, two arrests, changing our major three times, and a brief stint running an illegal youth hostel in Barcelona to get here. Our time together has been memorable—correction, some of our time together has been memorable. Most of our time together was spent blackout drunk and might make an appearance in that "your life flashes before your eyes moment" before I die. While part of me would love to pull a Van Wilder, postpone my loans, and avoid the real world at all costs, I'm 24 now and the freshman boys are frankly too young to hit on—in some cases even illegal.

Girl's college dorm room
Concrete and wood softened by pink and purple.
I remember the beginning like it was yesterday. I pulled up to Aiken Hall with my single fitted sheets (that would provide comfort to more frat boys than I would like to admit), my pre-freshman-fifteen body and size zero jeans that still taunt me from the back of my closet, cases of ramen noodles and Easy Mac that easily accounted for half of the freshman fifteen I gained, my Sex and the City DVD collection that became such a handy procrastination tool that I could effortlessly recite every line of dialogue in the entire series word for word, and a sense of childlike wonderment that would get me into and out of a great deal of trouble. We loved that freshman dorm room as much as any 18-year-old could. So what if it was a glorified jail cell that we shared with three other girls (and two kittens which we creatively named Jager and Meister—until we almost got kicked out of the dorm when our RA found them)? We made the best of every moment.

We carried bags of wine around in our purses, got our fake IDs taken, and mastered the walk of shame.Sure, we had our share of hurdles to jump over. We all had teachers that we hated, boyfriends who cheated on us, people who told us we got fat, and friends who stole our clothes and copied our term papers, but those little bumps in the road wouldn't stop us. We went to class in our sweatpants with permanent marker penises drawn on our faces and we wore them well. We carried bags of wine around in our purses, got our fake IDs taken, mastered the walk of shame, pulled Adderall-induced all-nighters, and single-handedly made Starbucks the empire it is today.

College taught us a lot of things, like what happens when you don't pay your electric bill, and how a space heater and a puffy jacket are enough to allow you to keep your heat setting below sixty in the winter in Vermont; that a free gym membership isn't something to be taken for granted, and working 40 hours a week and taking five classes is worthy of an Olympic gold medal; that hangovers do actually get worse with age; and if your parents cut you off at some point along the way, you'll probably have to steal food from the supermarket.

Goodbye etched in pencilThat said, one of the most important things college taught me is that everyone's path to graduation is different. Not everyone is going to do it in four years, at the same school, or with the same major they started. Some people are going to finish debt-free and others will wind up with $80,000 in loans…I'm just sayin'. There isn't a right way or a wrong way; there is only the way that's right for you. I know you're going to miss me, College, and I will miss you too. Don't worry though, there will be many more of me to come, and I wish you all the best of luck.