This is the good life

Kate Bigam

I was not supposed to go to Kent State.

I certainly never wanted to.

As a senior in high school, I didn’t apply to go here because the Home Turf School is also known as the Loser School in nearly everyone’s book – unless, of course, you plan on being a loser your whole life, which I didn’t. Kent State was never an option for me.

Instead, I spent the first two and a half years of college at Ohio University, the School of My Dreams – which I despised.

And when my ex-boyfriend died during my junior year, I spiraled into a deep, painful depression that I was sure I would never find my way out of. Scared for my life, I moved home – and began attending Kent State simply because it was convenient.

So as sarcastic and un-cheesy as I claim to be, here is the cheesiest thing I’ve ever said, the sentence that has become my personal mantra: Everything happens for a reason.

When I came to Kent State, I was out of my mind with sadness, making bad decisions and hurting the people I loved to try to make myself feel better. And instead of standing by me, my friends from home abandoned me when I needed them most.

My mom always said she didn’t find her best friends until her junior year of college. So when I entered my fifth year of higher education virtually friendless, my hope was running thin.

But just when my faith in myself and in others had begun to falter, the people I met at Kent State restored it. Through friendship alone, they convinced me that I am not, in fact, insane – that I am funny and lovable and worthy of friendship. They taught me that real friends don’t run away from you or your problems; true friendship, like true love, is unconditional.

“It doesn’t matter how far away you go or I go,” my friend Elise wrote to me in a MySpace comment recently. “You and I will always and forever be the best of friends. You single-handedly changed my life here in Kent, and that is something I won’t ever forget.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I am about to leave the school I never wanted to attend in the first place, and I am surprised to discover that there’s no place I’d rather be. Now nearing graduation, I am happier than I have ever been. For the first time in a long time, I am completely and utterly thrilled with my life.

This is finally the kind of life I’ve been waiting my entire life for.

And now, of course, the time has come to leave Kent State. It seems cruel, almost, that I found my niche and met my best friends, only to leave it all almost immediately.

But here’s the deal – if I am fortunate enough to find people like this throughout the rest of my life, I will be the luckiest girl on the damn planet.

And if I never find people like this again? Well, I don’t need to.

I already have all the ones I need.

This column originally appeared in the May 1 issue of the Daily Kent Stater. Kate Bigam is a recent graduate in magazine journalism and Forum editor of the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].