Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
September 1st, 2004:
WOOHOO. i’m so moved in. I LOVE IT. i only have one roommate, i guess our temp found a permanent place. when i found my room, my roomie, caitlin, wrote me a message on a dry erase board saying “hey stephanie” and left me a really sweet note. she’s in class til like 5. but when i walked in, our room is awesome. it’s really big and her bedspread coordinates with mine perfectly. she has a lot of cool stuff. she brought a guitar and keyboard. she was in her choir too. we’re gonna get along great. *knocks on wood* i miss everyone a lot…but i’m sooo excited. i can’t wait to meet new people and explore the campus. anyway. i’m gonna try to hook up our tv, and bust open some of the junk food my parents bought me.
June 27th, 2005:
i don’t want to be the one that’s just here temporarily just for school. this is where i want to live. i always knew that i wouldn’t stay in texas and that i would eventually end up in chicago. i just need to feel settled somewhere. i miss my family and friends like crazy. but we all have separate lives now. we’d all end up leaving at the end of the summer. i don’t want to just be your friends 2 months out of the year. my really good friends, the ones i know i can count on, are still my friends regardless of whether i’m in chicago or texas. i still call my sarah whenever i need to talk to the only person who knows me better than myself. i still get regular six flags updates from stephen and advice from cayc-dawg. i just thought you should know that. i didn’t stay here because i wanted to get away from you or see my boyfriend all the time. i stayed here because i like having my own apartment instead of a dorm that i know i’d have to move out of at christmas and next summer and then have to do this all over again. i’m doing this because i’m fortunate enough to have a dad that works for the airlines, so i know i’ll have the ability to go back to texas when i need to. i’ll still find a way to get to country thunder so i can pass out when keith urban starts speaking in his australian accent. after all, i need to be “the asian” again.
August 5th, 2006:
Be happy. That’s the last thing my mom said to me when we were saying goodbye today. “Be happy.” It sounds so simple, yet the moment I turned and walked away from her the tears had already welled up in my eyes.Doesn’t she know how hard it is for me to be happy seeing her so fragile and concerned about me when she should be worrying about her own health? The woman who opened so many doors for me with her and my dad’s love and support now needed me to open the door of her hotel room, because it was too heavy for her. Sometimes when you pretend for long enough, and you actually forget that it’s a charade. I’ve let myself act like I’m fine because I was sick and tired of people that don’t even know me talking about how insecure and dependent I am. It’s not until someone who knows you better than yourself sees right through the facade that you’re forced to admit that you aren’t as happy as you should be.
July 16th, 2007
It is now the summer before my senior year of college. How time has gone by so quickly is beyond me. So much has changed since that first day I stepped into my dorm, and even more has changed in the past two weeks of my life. Three years ago, I was a nerdy theater/choir geek thinking that life in the big city was her true calling. Then I came to DePaul and realized quickly how small and insignificant one person’s life really is outside of Southlake, Texas. I chose DePaul for its diversity, because as an adopted Korean who grew up in the South, I was tired of being “The Asian” wherever I went. Funny how you really don’t know what you want til it’s gone.
I guess you could say that this entry was four years in the making. I knew it would come to an end someday, but I neither knew how soon the goodbye would come, or the ache I would feel when it arrived.
Yes, I believe I was a bit of an idealist when I left high school. I went through bouts of melancholy, ennui, debauchery, insecurity, overconfidence, cynicism, and somehow ended up here… a veritable melting pot of emotions and experiences, about to graduate from college.
I don’t feel the need to recap the significant events during my time at DePaul because most of the people who read this site were present, and those who weren’t can read the archives (and between the lines) for what may have been missed. And for those of you who enjoy reading my less than joyful moments… and who in fact search for terms (names) that would be sure to hurt me because despite everything that has happened, you still seek ways to twist the knife, I refuse to punctuate the last sentence of this chapter in my life with pain.
Instead, I’d like to take a few moments to publicly thank my three very best friends at DePaul, even though no words would ever be sufficient retribution. Since there is no possible way to rank their importance, I thought I’d just go chronologically. To the ones who picked up the pieces…
JP: My mentor from day one. Thank you for being such a wonderful orientation leader and introducing me to your friends, Chinatown, and a world where people actually know how to use chopsticks. Who would have known the day I was the only mentee to show up to your Napoleon Dynamite outing that our lives would become so entwined. Not only have you been a wonderful companion to experience all that Chicago has to offer, but you are my touchstone to home… someone who will not judge the “Don’t Mess With Texas” sticker on my laptop, and who was in fact, the one who gave me the decorative idea in the first place. You are the best listener I know, and such a genuine friend. Even though you’re older than me, you’ve never treated me condescendingly. You gently offer guidance without being dogmatic. You’re inspiring on so many levels. I hope that I’ve become a kinder person, because your compassion has rubbed off on me over the years. You’ve never stopped being my mentor. Even last year, while I was president, the title really should have belonged to you. You supported me, went above and beyond the call of leadership and friendship, and were so humble it is inconceivable to me… (probably because I am a self-admitted drama queen who loves the spotlight). Even after your term ended and you graduated, you didn’t forget about me or that I still needed your advising. You helped me let go of our baby (ACE) and also the person I had become that I didn’t like. Be it a consolation bowl of chicken noodle soup, or a celebratory fishbowl– nothing you have given me has been more valuable than your incredible faith and quiet wisdom. I know everything is bigger in Texas because of the size of your heart.
Lizette: I am so lucky that you gave me a second chance, after having decided during our Sources and Evidence class, that I was a stuck-up bitch because of my tendency to dress up for no reason. Thank GOD I found another (relatively) sane person in the honors program. Although you’ve probably wreaked havoc on my GPA, and made me gain way more than the freshman 15 with our McDonald’s excursions and Malibu pineapples, you have also taught me bravery and how to stand up for myself. It’s funny that you were telling me today how you were thinking about giving your final web project a feminist focus, because I had been thinking that everything I’ve done in terms of Women’s activism, is a direct result of knowing you. I love that you don’t take crap from anyone. I admire how you are proud of your beauty and sensuality and don’t apologize for being so attractive that you sometimes cause fights or end up in the back of a cop car. You’ve given me the ability not to be ashamed of my body. Thank you for sharing your confidence with me– in the moments when you could see that I needed it most. You feed me, you clothe me, you shelter me (yaaa roomie!) which is ironic because I feel a sense of maternal protectiveness with you– calling your doorman to check in on you when I’m worried, but beyond that– you gave me courage… to be alone… to not settle for less than I deserve… because I know that no matter how broken my heart is, you will drag me out to the club, pour tequila down my throat, try and hook me up with guys by telling strangers how long it has been since I’ve seen any action– all because you want me to be happy. Never has the term “hooker” carried with it such endearment as it has between us.
Micah: Or as I first thought of you… “that random white kid who keeps showing up to ACE events… hmm… yellow fever perhaps?” HAHAHA oops. My favorite hapa. Like a little brother to me, yet is somehow world’s more mature than I will ever be. You never cease to amaze me. I love that I can talk about Gossip Girl AND the Stanley Cup with you. Like JP, you are far more humble than anyone I know. What truly astounds me, however, beyond your versatile taste in entertainment, is the extent of your goodness. You are brilliant, eloquent, and have a wonderful sense of humor– but never use those traits to belittle anyone else. You believe the best in everyone, giving them the benefit of the doubt. While it’s sometimes baffling, I am grateful that you have always seen the good in me. You’re like my reflection when I am staring at the mirror reciting self-affirmations. At my low moments, your (even if irrational) confidence in me reminds me what I should aspire to, and I’m a better person for wanting to prove you right. Thank you for always offering to escort me home during late hours and contradicting my suspicions that there are no decent gentleman left in this generation. And speaking of men, thanks for always putting up with my poor judgment while offering hilarious insight into my failed (pseudo) relationships to lift my spirits. I’ve never had (straight) best guy friends before. And my relationship with my brother was pretty much estranged in high school. That being said, it felt great (maybe a bit laughable) to know that you were willing to take someone 1.5x your size and age into the Pizano’s bathroom to give them “The Talk” and protect me at all costs. Even though I am a horrible student who updates blogs instead of writing papers and has horrific taste in guys as well as an occasional mean streak, I know that I can’t be too bad of a person, because someone as good as you deems me worthy of friendship.
With graduation looming, I realized that it’s not the not having a job or knowing what to do with my life that scares me. The safety I found at DePaul was not in the solid foundation of the SAC, or reliability of routine– but the security of your friendship… knowing that no matter how lost I got along the way, your unconditional love kept me on track. I’m not ready to give up the ability to call you after class for Noodles, Micah. Or to be a bus ride away from margaritas with you, JP. Or not have anything to (NOT) study for in the library with you, Lizette. Thank you for making college so wonderful that I’m frightened to leave. And thank you for being such loyal friends, that I know deep down, I don’t have to be.