Moving away doesn’t have to mean forgetting.

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This large attic-esque second-floor bedroom has been my home away from home for a year now. Hard to believe so much time has passed. I won’t lie, this room has come with its fair share of problems — namely the brutal summer heat and the numerous creepy-crawly bugs and other flying insects — but there are moments I’ve experienced in this room that have changed me forever and helped to mold me into a more respectable, considerate human being.

If I were to give this past year its own motto, I’d tell you without hesitation that “everything happens for a reason,” both the good and the bad. I could show you exactly where I was standing when I got in my first argument with my roommate and I could give you a moment-by-moment replay of how I reacted when the boy I liked broke my heart. But I could also point out where I was sitting when that same boy, my now boyfriend, kissed me, or show you how truly magnificent the moon is when it shines through the large window above my bed at night. All of these memories are now safely tucked away in the photo album of my mind, and I know when I leave at the end of the month and began to unpack my belongings in a new space that these memories will still be with me.

I rest assured knowing that moving away doesn’t have to mean forgetting what you have learned. Moving away brings with it the chance to begin anew without fear of repeating mistakes from the past. I am older and wiser now, and, I hope, a little better than the person I was before.

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