When I was a wee highschooler on the verge of graduation—wide-eyed and eager to take on the world—everyone told me the same thing: "Just wait, college will be the best time of your life."

Well, that wasn't exactly my experience. At least not at first. For me, college was lonelier than I expected. I was involved in things, sure—on-campus clubs, a church community, leadership organizations—but up until my junior year, I didn't have a built-in group of friends to do everything with, or the greater sense of belonging that I hoped would come with that. Of course, it didn't help that my school enrolled close to 50,000 students.

That's not to say that I didn't have amazing friends. On the contrary, I relied on a small sprinkling of people here and there to help navigate the ups and downs of young adulthood. (Read: Late night study sessions at the library, the occasional Mexican Martini post-midterms, or random conversations at 2:00am in the morning when sleep just wasn't gonna happen.) And this small sprinkling of close friends—one of them being my roommate and soul sister, Kristen—was great. A godsend, actually. But to be honest, after coming from such a tight-knit group in high school, college felt somewhat... impersonal. And for a while, I felt lost in a sea of strangers and acquaintances.

That is, until I studied abroad in Oxford. The summer of 2012 was a game-changer for me. This is where I got to know (and love) Alyssa and Casey, two good friends that welcomed me into their circle without a second thought. For six weeks, the three of us were inseparable. We pub-crawled through England together, got lost in Paris together, ran through rainstorms together (both literally and figuratively), scared ourselves shitless in Edinburgh together, and laughed until we cried together. I'm sure you know it—the particular feeling of finding a family in unexpected places. 

Upon returning to Texas in the fall, I immediately introduced my two new travel buds to Kristen, and as I suspected it would, the trio effortlessly expanded to include a fourth member. After this, midnight Kerbey Lane runs and coffee shop "study" sessions suddenly took on a whole new meaning. 

We're no longer inseparable now. Graduating and getting married and chasing dreams will do that. But my 19-year-old self found a home in these three, and five years later, they're still the best thing I have from my college days—even if we only get to see each other once in a blue moon. It's those blue moons that I live for.