How to figure out who is a TRUE friend – Josh Kim 2020

It is often difficult to figure out who are your TRUE and FAKE friends. But there is an easy solution – look around you when you are going through difficult times. True friends stay next to you no matter what circumstances you are in. In that sense, this entire COVID-19 crisis ended up being a litmus test to many of my friendships. 

Notably, my relationship with Vassar remained unwavering and steadfast. Online classes, sudden separation with my beloved friends and professors, isolation, cancellation of senior week and virtual commencement were definitely not what I expected for my senior year. To be honest, they were overwhelming. However, Vassar did not let go of my hand amidst this distressful status quo. While major schools one-sidedly kicked students out with only a few days of prior notice, Vassar committed to providing a place to stay and food to eat even for international students who hoped to stay on campus. Workers tirelessly sanitized every corner of campus. The number of confirmed cases has been increasing exponentially in many parts of New York State including Dutchess County where Vassar is located. But I felt totally safe walking around campus, basking in the sun and hanging out with the new geese family near Sunset Lake. Vassar even extended the move-out date for international seniors like me so that we can have more time to sort out our post-grad location and plans. Everything Vassar has done for me and the student community was considerate, meticulous and heartwarming.

You don’t need that many TRUE friends, do we? We just need a few. Vassar is surely one of them. It is now a place where I can proudly call it my second home. People like to say we live through hardships by holding onto the enjoyable memories of the past. Vassar brings back such happy, encouraging, pleasant but sometimes sorrowful, stressful and regretful memories that represent my personal growth and my dazzling days during my early 20s.

I look back in retrospect in 2014 the moment I first set foot on this campus. I remember being dumbstruck by beauty of the campus, the fresh scent of trees and the humidity of the East Coast summer. I was just a little kid without anything in my hands – some unrealistic dreams and vain expectations. Now, as I prepare to leave this campus, I find myself having so much in my hands – friends who will root for me wherever I am, LiladrewIC (Lila + Andrew + International Community), professors and employees of Vassar that I took classes or worked with, even bigger but more concrete and specific dreams, independence, love, trust, responsibility, vision, proper ways to interact with people and so much more. I am genuinely grateful to my true lifelong pal, Vassar College.

Josh Kim, Class of 2020

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