By MARYANNE RAFKA, Copy EditorMaryanne

I don’t know where to begin this. This is my last chance to write for the Michigan Journal. These are my last two weeks of college. On April 27, I will become a part of the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s graduating class of 2014. It feels surreal. Beginning college, I never thought it would ever end. I always assumed I would be here forever, taking classes and writing essays and ~not~ studying for exams. It never occurred to me that one day, all of this would end, and I would have to step into the “real world” and get a “real job” and “pay bills.” What is this? Madness.

I have loved my experience at UM-Dearborn. I have been very proud of this school and of what I have done. I am going to miss being here. My professors – especially the amazing English department – have been nothing short of wonderful. My MIchigan Journal family have been just that: a family. More than anything, I will miss my friends. I will miss sitting in the cafeteria eating Subway sandwiches and talking about essays and future plans. I’m going to miss the feeling of something approaching, instead of being a memory. When you’re young, everything is in the future. But when you grow up, everything becomes a part of the past. I don’t want my friends to be a part of the past. So this is an article for my friends, the ones who helped me through the past four years, who have kept me sane and made me feel loved.

Liala Sobh, you are a ray of sunshine in an otherwise rainy world. You are the greatest friend anyone could have ever asked for. I love you so much I might just explode.

Sarah Lewis, you literally are the Dorothy to my Sophia. Please don’t let me end up at Shady Pines.

Nada Al-hanooti, you are the biggest asshole in history. You are insane, in the best way possible. Thank you for boosting my ego every time I have needed it.

Ali Hashem, I don’t even know what to say. You are probably the nicest, kindest, greatest guy in the history of the universe.

These past four years have been difficult, but one thing I’ve learned from the four people I’ve listed above is that sometimes, there is nothing better than taking a chance, even if it doesn’t work out.

If there’s one thing I want the class of 2014 to remember to do – and every graduating class after – it’s this: don’t be so scared. Okay, maybe I have a few more things I want them to know. Don’t be polite. Don’t worry so much about other people’s comfort, especially if it means compromising your own. Demand what you want, and insist that others treat you the way you want to be treated. Don’t worry so much. And most of all, have love. And I don’t mean the kind of love you see in movies – the romantic love that leaves you wanting to hold and kiss someone special. I meant the bigger kind of love. The love that means holding hands with a crying stranger. The love that means buying someone a cup of soup. The love that means forgiving someone. The love that means smiling every day. The love that means standing up for your beliefs. The love that means believing in equal rights. The love that means being rude sometimes. Andrea Gibson once wrote, “Sometimes love, sometimes real love, is fucking rude.” She was absolutely right.

Love means taking everything we have learned in our time at UM-Dearborn and walking out into the world and making a change. Nothing less.

Nothing less.