As I grow closer to the end of my time here in Waterloo, I find myself incredibly sentimental about the time I have spent here and all the different ways I have grown. I came here four years ago in love, happy and overall naive about where these years would take me. I’ve loved, lost and felt everything else in between during my years here but I am happy to say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I do believe that you cannot truly appreciate happiness until you’ve experienced the bittersweet pain of loss. Losing someone means that you have to start again, create a whole new identity and I have been incredibly fortunate to have such amazing friends around me that helped me through this process, during what feels like so many years ago. I was young- I am young still of course but when you’re experiencing a new city, new friends and a loss of identity, everything can be a little scary. Four years ago I decided that I wanted to become someone new, someone would would appreciate the little things, go for walks on my own, enjoy life as it comes and not worry so much about whether or not I was supposed to be with someone or be somewhere else entirely. I found a new found sense of independence- and I haven’t been able to get enough of it! I’ve spent the last four years spoiling myself in Waterloo, living with some of my best friends in the world and experiencing the “university life”. University has taught me a lot of things- how to deconstruct an extensive passage from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, how to properly cite multiple works in MLA, APA or Chicago formatting, how to cram twelve weeks of readings into just five or six handwritten notes and even how to function on little to zero sleep. But what I appreciate most in these four years is the lesson that life taught me- to try to find myself amongst so many other lost souls.. I am independent, which doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate being taken care of but what it does mean is that I don’t need someone to take care of me all the time. I think sometimes we settle for something or someone because we believe it’s necessary to be loved all the time but a large part of me believes that it’s difficult to be loved, if you don’t love yourself and who you are when you’re alone. These last four years have brought a lot of changes into my life, some for the better and some for the worse but everything that has happened has lead to me being where I am and for that I am eternally grateful.