School: Florida State University
Year: Fall 2014 – Present
House: Pilot Scholarship House
When I closed my computer after my Skype application interview with Barby Moro, I was sitting alone. I was in the middle of a beautiful campus full of live-oak trees and brick buildings, excited about what I was learning in my editing classes, living in a dorm close to my classes and the library, but I was worried. I had loans I would have to pay back after graduation. In my dorm, people scurried in and out, but no one talked to each other. When I closed my computer after my interview, I began to think: Maybe I could get into this program. Maybe I have a shot.
It’s been a year and a half now that I’ve been living in SSF, and the word lonely seems laughable. When I walk into our living room, I’m met with laughing women gathered around the TV, talking and joking with each other as they scribble notes on index cards and read through textbooks. In the kitchen, someone is cooking something delicious and others are asking what they’re seasoning it with. Someone is dancing. Someone is in scrubs, talking about their cool internship at a doctor’s office. One of my favorite moments is when I walk into a classroom on the first day of class and see someone wearing an SSF t-shirt. “You’re in SSF?” we both say, excited, knowing we’ve just made a new friend and study partner. “What house do you live in?”
Being a part of SSF means that I am going to graduate loan free, but it is so much more than that. I’ve lived with, laughed with, and cried with women from all different life stories, who I otherwise may never have met. We’ve stayed up late and cried together in the kitchen. We’ve gone to get ice-cream in our pajamas. We’ve dressed up like old ladies for our E4L 5K video, running around the FSU track with our hair in curlers. I love these memories, because I know that if I asked every single person in SSF, they would have similar stories to tell. There’s a scrapbook in our house from the 1960s with pictures and notes of similar memories from women who lived in our house back then. That’s what we do at SSF: we have fun together.
I graduate in four weeks. The closer graduation draws near, the more I am appreciating the small moments with the twenty other women in my house who I now call my friends. When they talk about their dreams, their fears, the funny moments that happened in their days, I realize how fortunate I am to be allowed into their lives. We all have different stories, and sometimes we don’t understand each other, but we have become friends. I am so thankful SSF has given me the opportunity to live with and get to know them.
I graduate in four weeks. This fact is bittersweet, because I’m so excited to see what the future holds, but I’m also sad because I want to hang on to the moments when I walk downstairs and see my friends laughing and studying around the dining room table. I’m going to miss them.
When I closed my computer after my interview with Barby, I was hopeful. Now, I’m getting ready to close another door, as I finish my undergraduate degree, and I’m hopeful again. SSF was more than I ever imagined it was going to be, and I wonder what else in my life is going to be that way too. Something so good that I can’t see yet, new opportunities and new friends to make. I am sad to be leaving SSF, but hopeful. Former residents still come to tour our house, reliving the memories they had while they lived in SSF. They run in the E4L 5K, smiling and waving as we cheer them on. One former resident, Mickey Moore, became the CEO, part of the office team who accepted my application and let me live in SSF.
I am going to miss living in SSF, but I am hopeful, because I know that no one ever truly leaves the SSF family. New residents will move in and make new memories as others move on to new chapters in their lives, but no one truly leaves. We are an SSF family, and you can always come back.