The Family You Choose

There’s a moment.

A moment when you know you’ve found your family away from home.

It’s a moment you won’t be able to let go of.

You realize you can’t go a day without talking or seeing them. You’re having a bad day and you notice only they can make it better – even if it’s only a little. They are suddenly in every memorable experience you have and every story you share starts with “when ____ and I…”

Some people I quickly came to call my family (Raegan Whiteside)

All of a sudden they know everything about you – the good, bad and ugly – and you know them and all their ticks and quirks. But even with all those complex layers, you love each other anyway.

Your friends and family back home start to get annoyed because these random people are all you talk about, but you just can’t help it – they are a part of your daily routine.

That’s the moment you’ll know.

Whether it’s a mix of different individuals, a band of people that isn’t complete without the other or if it’s just one singular person, we all have those people that make being away from home, your family, and everything you’ve ever known a little more bearable. These are the people that you’ll cherish forever.

You even have family meals together (Raegan Whiteside)

These are the people that understand this is the time for changing and finding yourself, and they stand by your side but most importantly they grow with you, rather than away from you.

These are the people who you’ll go crazy with on a Saturday night, but have just as much fun sitting at home and watching a movie with. You can talk to them for hours about nonsense and yet still too sit in a comfortable silence.

You never imagined you’d be friends with them, but you have quickly found deep connections and bonds with them.

They push you, challenge you, comfort you, laugh with you, yell with you, cry with you and make the stupidest decisions with you.

Your family may start with just two other people (Raegan Whiteside)

For me, my family started with just two and has quickly grown to eleven – I couldn’t envision my college experience, Charleston, or my life in general (cliche, I know) without each and every one of them. Sometimes it takes time to find your second family, or maybe you found them within the first week of being at the College. Maybe you’ll have an epiphany and realize who they are, or maybe it’ll be when you least expect it, but no matter what, you’ll find them eventually.

Now is the time to have fun, go crazy, take risks and find yourself, but it’s also a time to find the people that make experiences more fun, make risks worth being made, make life a little better, and bring out the best in you.

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