She takes down any pictures of him hanging on her dorm room wall and tucks them away in a neat pile where she can’t find them.

An entire semester of struggling to save her relationship — all for nothing. Her eyes are swollen and she grabs for a tissue. It’s a new semester now, and he’s a part of the past.

The last time she was in this room, on this campus, she’d been dating her best friend for over a year. Today, she feels utterly alone.

An entire first semester of freshman year focusing on a boy instead of making new friends. An entire first semester watching her classmates’ lives come together as hers fell apart.

How is she supposed to catch up now?

It’s her first night back and she hangs out with the girls down the hall for the first time in months. Ten girls piled into a tiny dorm room. They eat popcorn and share stories from winter break. They talk with excitement about the upcoming months.

For the first time in what seems like forever, she laughs. For a moment, maybe just a second, she even forgets about him. 

She wonders what the future will hold. If she’ll find her place here, if she’ll ever be as happy as she once was.

But right now, in this moment, she’s okay. She’s surrounded by friends and laughter and an opportunity for a fresh start.

The next day, on a brisk January morning, she walks to her class with headphones in and a smile on her face. She becomes friends with the kid next to her in class. She studies hard, joins a new club, applies for a job and goes to the gym.

She’s starting a new life, a new chapter, here at Miami. It just took her a semester to realize it.

plantjq@miamioh.edu

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