While sitting down at a Tuscan table several years ago, a local bottle of Chianti served in modest glasses, our conversation quickly started to flow. Memories washed over us  and we slowly began to remember. We recalled our college days, the grueling and humble moments that taught us the value of being perpetually broke, of being leveled in a vast playing field, in the reality that hard work doesn’t necessarily gain merit and that heartbreak is part of this uncertain life. Our educations were valued, but genuine life lessons were the treasures we gathered in our baskets of life.

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As minutes dissipated and wine glasses were refilled, it was hard for us to grasp that our days at university, though still fresh and vivid in our minds, were now moments of our sacred past. 2015 commemorates our 15th year anniversary from our undergraduate life. 15 years since we lived in to small dormitory dwellings, showered with flip-flops, carted around shower buckets, and lived among students eager to make their mark in their new world.

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20 years since my dear Father dropped me off at my humble dorm, embraced me in a lingering hug, unable to believe we had already arrived at this place and time and looked deep into my eyes and quietly said, “Get involved Melinda, it will make all the difference.”

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And so it was all those years ago. I got involved, I sat in class, I read the books, I joined teams, I welcomed strangers into my life, organized spring break trips with the support of wonderful friends, I volunteered, worked, laughed, loved, cried, and grew as an independent person, free from the wings of my parents encapsulating protection. Such simple, yet powerful advice; get involved.  The same words I fall back on each time I pack up my life and move to a new home whether in another state or an unknown country.
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Naturally, I miss the people who entered my life and slowly faded away, as each individual played an integral part of making me the person I have become today. The joys of the first “hello” and the sorrows of the final “goodbye” still crisp in my mind. Some final departures I long to repeat having spoken lasting words that would carry us each through the years of silence. Held that person in a deeper, longer embrace thanking them for making this life all the sweeter, but goodbyes are inevitable and final. It is hard to believe that some of those people who left such an impression on me, whom I spent countless hours with, have now drifted into the makings of their own lives so distant from my own.  The trend of friends coming and going has now become a normal, though hard to swallow cycle in our lives.
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It has been 15 years since we eagerly, yet hesitantly received our diplomas from college unable to believe that five years had passed as quickly as the turning of a page and now at 15 years, it all feels like a distant dream. It has been 15 years since the remarkable, life-altering journey began.

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Now we look to the future – the very future that holds her arms wide open for us – her prospects endless and her days the greatest mystery of all.

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This posting is dedicated to all of our friends from our incredible college days.

May your lives be rich, your journeys vast and your hearts full.

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