"Friends are the family you choose for yourself."

In the past two semesters, I have learned a lot about love, self worth, friendship and other life lessons being on my own here in college and on a mission of self improvement and discovery. I went through a few struggles first semester that threatened to tear down everything I thought I wanted and had worked for. Recently, having recovered from that slump and finally returning to myself again, I've felt my appreciation for my friends grow and grow. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

I don't thank them enough for it, so with this speech, I hope to do that and also inspire you all to keep close the people you love and never let them go. "Friends really are the family you choose for yourself."

I could honestly go on for days on the wonderful people in my life, and felt myself get a bit teary eyed when I realized how lucky I was with the people I've met. But having only six to eight minutes to share with you all, Today, I'd like to introduce you to the story of how I met Jordan Washington and Daro Ing, two amazing members of my friend family.

It was my eigth grade year in middle school.

Everyone was dressed in their gray and blue uniforms for gym class. I was sitting with a group of guys that I knew, the only girl, quiet and feeling a bit out of place. I looked down to the new girl sitting alone at the bottom of the bleachers.

She was thin and awkward looking. I remember thinking I really liked her hair and wanting to tell her, something propelling me from my seat and so I did just that. We made small talk and she smiled down at her hands a lot, telling me I was the first person at the school to talk to her. She had just moved there from New Jersey and her name was Jordan.

Jordan Danielle Washington has been in my life for six years now. We are very different and somehow inherently the same at heart. She is the friend I feel I would have met at one point or another within my life. It was fate.

When I left my first high school and transferred to the one closer to my home, I was familiar with a lot of faces from middle school but the two year gap had separated most of those friendships into "acquaintanceships". With Jordan, it was like this too at first and then one day, we were placed in the same AP Physics class, and seeing her sit by herself at the back table in her ROTC uniform, that same unnamable urge told me to go and sit beside her.

Since then, we have been inseparable.

Jordan is the friend that I fight with because we know we love each other too much to ever really stop talking. She is the friend I feel will be there for all the important steps in my life and I for hers.

I guess I want to talk about how before the army, we had a fight that I thought would change our relationship forever. Both of us were busy with our new lives and growing up. I was struggling with adjusting to bad roommate situations and a breakup. I felt my friends were deserting me but I was being selfish. We both were. And it is an easy thing to do in such a hectic, confusing place in our lives when we're all trying to figure ourselves out,

But Jordan was right when she said, "Hurting people need each other."

Reflecting back on that time and where I am now, I know it was silly in retrospect and am only grateful that I recognized it's silliness before it was too late.

Without her, I wouldn't have the support and best friend I thought I would never have.

To transition to my next story on how I met Daro Daniel Ing, I'll start off with a quote from Anais Nin "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. "

It was my senior year of high school, four years later on one insignificant afternoon, I was walking down the sidewalk with a couple of friends. I had seen his artwork in my friend's sketchbooks and heard his name every now and again in conversation. Daro this, Daro that. I started to wonder who this Daro person was and felt I needed to know him too like everyone else. I had been at Tucker for a year now so was surprised I didn't recognize someone in our group.

My friend Bridget called out his name as he approached, just passing by on his way to the parking lot, and I looked at him with sudden interest and delight. So this was Daro! He was short and looked some sort of asian that I couldn't place. I would later find out he was Cambodian. He was carrying an art clipboard beneath his arm, wearing the striped sweater and black glasses I would become so familiar with seeing him in.

I remember he didn't say much and smiled at the ground mostly and I pretended that I knew him, giving him a hug and greeting him as if we were old friends. He didn't even seem to notice and hugged me back, hugged the people we were with and then we went our separate ways.

A month or so later, I realized we were in the same Art and Art History classes and one other insignificant day, I noticed him sketching by himself at a table. I felt intrigued, that unknown force once again asking me to question.

I remember feeling immediately connected with him, like I knew he was important in my life, feeling like I had to know him because it just seemed very important to.

I learned that we were ridiculously similar in the biggest ways. He was shy and romantic at heart, passionate, sensitive, volatile and creative; and one of the kindest, funniest, most interesting people I'd ever met. I attached to him immediately, feeling he would understand me and we would learn a lot from each other.

Whenever I was feeling sad, Daro was the one I felt I could talk to even if I didn't talk about what was going on. He is the company I need when I am most lonely and the person I go to with good and bad news, the one I know will celebrate and make me smile when I really need it; and though he doesn't always have the right words to say, he is the friend who will be there too.

I knew I had to keep this person in my life just like I knew I needed to introduce myself into Jordan's.

"Friends are the family you choose for yourself." And they definitly are.

In both stories, I mentioned a sort of force or voice in my head that urged me to connect with these people. My advice and purpose in this is to tell you to listen to that voice when it tells you to hold on to someone or just say a simple hello, even if it's scary or you might seem foolish to do so. You never know what beautiful friendship could be waiting for you and how much that can alter the course of your life. And always value who you have and who sticks with you in the hard times. Be patient and understanding and never forget the people who truly care for you even when it gets hard to remember. Don't give up on the people you love. Never give up.

.

quotes/authors/o/oprah_winfrey_ #pCt40Vafa2s84Bc8.99