As expected, the first few weeks have been a challenge of adaptability, but I write this from the comfort of a new place where I find peace and happiness.

As I have mentioned before in other blog posts, this senior year my friends and I are living in a house not so remotely far from campus, but off campus. The first days, it felt like we were very utterly disconnected from the campus and this we perceived it in a negative way. But as we strut more and more around the university, we realized how far we have come and how the necessity to constantly be on campus to meet people, socialized and all that business is not necessary any longer.

We are seniors and as seniors, we get to spend it with the people, who after three years of crazy search, of altercations and disagreements, we have managed to stay in each other’s lives. My friends, Khushee, Lauren, Rachel, and Sarah are my core; my posse and without them I do not know how to do college. They four pulled me up during a moment of solitude and depression in my sophomore year, when I was adamant in the decision to transfer out. They made me love Brandeis even with its flaws. Then they saved me again during my junior year when my anxiety peaked.

My friends have taught me the real meaning of friendship. Each with a different personality, I have become more honest, able to speak my mind about anything troubling me. I have been able to understand that a friend should not be a cookie cutter of what you expect them to be. Learn to embrace their quirks and compromise, there will be common ground that you all can have, but there are also differences and that is fine as long as everyone is open minded. They have taught me the importance of self-care and mental health. They have taught me more about how to believe in the beauty of my dreams and how to reach them in a very organic way. The people who have hurt me have become their enemies. Daily, as my eyes open from slumber, I am thankful that exiting the door to my room, I am welcomed with a smile and I am called “Love,” “My baby,” “Santy,” “Bae,” but also “Bitch” (in a very endearing way though). This is something that, from the very first moment I knew I was coming to college, I wanted: real lasting transparent and matured friendships. I am highly aware not everyone has this. I am highly aware of my privilege. I am thankful for it.

It very much reminds me why that student, who was the inspiration for the creation of the Posse Foundation. A student who claimed the reason s/he dropped out of college was because s/he did not have a posse to rely on in a critical moment of need.

We are all taking senior year differently. Some of us are applying to graduate school, others have a job already lining up, others are trying to graduate a semester early, others are freaking out about what is next, others are working on a thesis. It may be the beginning of the end, culminating such a big chapter of our lives, but I stay positive, knowing that things always work out in the end. I realized that for the past three years all I have done is worrying about what is next, however, this time I am not going to exaggerate applying here and there, but rather focus on what feels right, what my heart indicates that he wants me to chase after. No more trying to fit the wrong piece in the wrong puzzle.

All I want to tell you is that if you are struggling to find a core group of friends, keep searching. It is like trying to find the right partner or the right apartment/house, it may lead you into the wrong directions a couple of times, but, as I said before, “thing always work out in the end.” They do. And once you have that friend(s), make honesty and communication your philosophy and that will make of your friendships long-lasting and worthy.

All the best,

Santiago Montoya