I thought I couldn’t write you this, but I know you’d have scoffed at me. You’d have said “oh, just stop being so closed off and secretive. Completely unnecessary.” You said that all the time. It’s hard to read everything people have written about you, because everyone comments on how smart and beautiful and cool and outgoing you were. I wish you could have known that. You always talked about these social concerns, asking me if you’d been rude or presumptuous or whatever you were imagining yourself doing wrong to others, because you cared more about them than yourself.
The truth is, you weren’t doing anything wrong. You were kind (and brutally honest, when we needed it) to people always, showering them with gifts and always ready to share everything you owned with them. I remember once I said I liked your tinted lip balm, so you pulled out another one and just gave it to me to keep. I remember you randomly buying me food, or saying I could borrow anything you owned whenever I wanted, just go in and take it. You were so open and generous, not just with the things you owned but with your affection and feelings.
Just a few days ago you sat in my room for three hours while we talked about everything from our most private feelings to dumb stuff like which fruit we felt fit our personalities best. Yours is a banana, because it’s bright and outrageous, but hard on the outside. Once you peel off its outer layer, it’s sweet and vulnerable. You told me you’d never been able to talk to someone the way we talked, you said we were the same person deep inside. And then we moved into a completely serious discussion about what color of wood is appropriate for various objects.
Honestly, I feel really alone without you here to have those conversations. I miss you and need you so much, waking me up in the morning and dragging me to bio, being the only person around to go to dinner every night, bursting into my room throughout the day with some rant or story, eating your (gross) cottage cheese at breakfast on the weekends with me and Janet, notifying us when we’re being too embarrassing.
Remember that time we tried so so hard to get onto that balcony on Hoe 3, but couldn’t fit ourselves out the window? We even took someone’s screwdriver and unscrewed the screen on an empty floor we found to get out there. We said we’d come back one day and find a way, but we never did. Too busy having more adventures, I guess. I am so proud to have known you, and seen how you did everyday things—your own way, with no apologies. You were hilarious, ridiculously smart, witty, and successful in all that you did. I’m sorry the world doesn’t have you around anymore to help people like you always wanted. I love you and I’m sorry.
-Amanda Van Auken, ’17
It was like spinning on blackness when I woke up to people crying for your departure on a Saturday morning. My memories are everything to me here. The Red Sox snapback that you and Janet gave me as a birthday gift is still hanging on my wall, reminding me all the time that you were here, and that we were friends.
I met you for the first time in a hall event during orientation, Juliette. You were so pretty and cool. You were teaching me those fun abbreviations people use here such as ASAP or TTYL.
I was so glad that you and Janet became friends after I told you one of my roommates came from Massachusetts, too. (Sorry I still can’t type your state right and I Googled it here.)
You lent me your special “Reckless” snapback, then I made it into Indulgence. I bought you a cute ice cream cake from Hillside on your birthday and you took it from my hands when everybody was singing Happy Birthday To You.“Thank you, Jie,” you said to me, then gave me the most beautiful smile in the world.
“Hey, my girl” – I always like the way you say hi to me, with your soft voice. Do you still remember how we were called hoe2 hottest couple? We called each other girlfriend for a while after we were “dating,” then broke up since I found your “affair” with James lol.
We went downtown together at night, then became the last customers of Froyo after they already closed. You told me they opened the door for us again because we were hot and that froyo was not ice cream when I was insisting it was.
I was so excited that we were going to live off campus together next year. We both wanted the room with a little balcony. “We can compete” – I was yelling at you like a child even though I knew you definitely had a better reason.
You seemed so excited about it, too. You drew me a great picture of the life we would live together next year – that we would drive the car to the supermarket, then we would cook and eat together, which I was looking forward to.
One week ago, I gave you the cool shirt that randomly showed up in my laundry; you awkwardly met the owner when you were wearing it. I am sorry!
Two days ago, you went to my room when I was sleeping, you put a piece of Godiva chocolate under my blanket on the side of my bed and told me not to forget about it when I got off the bed. But I just ate it immediately once you left. But thank you!
I wept as those words left my hands. They were like the real happiness and sorrows we have shared. I grieved for them, knowing I could never get them out of my mind.
Thanks. To our best friend. I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though the time we spent together was never enough, it happened. Heaven has the coolest and kindest girl now. I won’t forget you.
I won’t forget this past year. I’ll remember who you were and all the things you taught me. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now.
I love you. May you rest in peace.
-Jie Deng, ’17
Last Wednesday I ran into Juliette’s room, asking for help because I had nothing to wear for a date party the next day.
She immediately stopped what she was doing and went through all of her dresses until we found a good one. She always loved letting other people wear her dresses, even when we took days to return them.
Then, we had to address the issue of footwear. I’d never successfully worn heels before, but Juliette insisted that I “learn how to be a woman” and made me do laps around the hall in her heels until I was semi-able to walk.
Juliette was always really caring and willing to help, and was one of the most devoted friends I’ve ever had. Most people would have just pointed to their closet and told me to take what I wanted, but without the blink of an eye, Juliette was more than willing to put in extra effort to help a friend.
-Janet Sorells, ’17
Juliette lived just a few doors down from me in Hoeing 2, a freshman floor she once cheekily touted as “living for the filthy, lazy and environmentally unfriendly.” Even in a school that puts specialized value on rigor and environmental responsibility, the tagline Juliette devised couldn’t have been more on point.
You see, Hoeing 2 is not like other freshmen halls – if you’ve ever swung by you might’ve found we’re a ragtag bunch of high-achieving misfits with a freewheeling love for lulz, doge memes and #YOLOswag.
Yet in adherence to our school’s motto, “Meliora,” we rock our uncompromisingly goofy spirit with the urgent ambition to become ever better – whether it be as a kick-ass doctor, lawyer or dancer. Hoeing 2 couldn’t have done this without Juliette.
Juliette was innocent, exuberant and youthful in every sense of the word. True, she locked herself out of her room on more than one occasion – but it was just as well because being locked out gave her an opportunity to engage with the world.
Juliette interacted with people – she’d open herself up even to acquaintances, playfully daring them to ask questions that would force her to dig deeper into the life story she was telling.
Such was Juliette’s style, for she understood that life is just a ride, one too bright, fleeting and colossally epic not to seize every facet of. It was this spirit of curiosity, humor, adventure, and warmth that penetrated social boundaries and affected all of those around her.
Juliette’s presence was felt in Hoeing 2 every day. Her loss brings grief to all of us, but it is through the love that she cultivated that we move forward. Rest in peace, Juliette – you left us too soon.
-Jeff Howard, ’17
These are words I’ve only started saying fairly recently, maybe starting from the end of last semester? It took me so long to muster up the courage to smile and say hi, but after a while, I became completely comfortable giving you an overexcited greeting and a big smile.
I’m not exactly sure when we bonded, but it was probably just one of those times when I stayed in your room to chill and talk with you and Neha. You talked about your life so freely with me. I would interject and ask you stupid questions and you would give me a “Hannah are you serious” look but you would answer them anyway.
You were a beautiful person, inside and out. It was so easy to see. After getting to know you better this semester, I pretty much started telling everyone around me that I had the biggest girl crush on you and that I was going to confess to you.
It was getting ridiculous. Then one night, you passed the lounge and Tyler elbowed me, telling me this was my chance. So I said, “Juliette, I love you!” You said, “I love you too” with a look just like the one you would give me when I asked you stupid questions, and started to walk away.
Then I said, “No, Juliette! I’m serious, I actually love you.” I thought you didn’t hear me, but then you walked back to me, gave me that same look, and said, “I actually love you too.” I insisted that I loved you more. You asked me if I wanted to fight you over this. I backed off. Truce.
I tried to stay away from the hall as much as possible, and tried my hardest to take my mind off of this sudden, empty feeling in me. It took me a while to realize I won’t see that expression anymore, or that we won’t be taking PH 101 together next semester, among many, many other things. But the impact you’ve had on me – on the people who will continue to love you – resonates so clearly.
You were so genuine, the epitome of cool. I’m going to miss that tell-it-like-it-is personality. I’m going to miss you. Thank you so much for being the awesome presence you were in Hoeing 2.
I actually love you.
-Hannah Lee, ’17
I hope people can remember you for the insanely smart, warm, kind person you were.
When we first met I was intimidated by you; I put a wall up because I assumed you wouldn’t like me, but I was so wrong. You had the most incredible way of making people feel amazing about themselves and I always knew that no matter how I was feeling, I would feel better once I saw you.
The thought that I will never get to see you again is crushing and so surreal. You aren’t supposed to be gone, you are supposed to be here. I just wish I could have told you how much you meant to me and how much you will continue to mean to me for the rest of my life. I love you, JuJu, and I promise I will never forget you.
-Danie Bendesky, ’17
It’s taken me a few days to think about things and put it into words.
You know, there’s a study about how the closer peoples’ dorms are, the better friends they are. Although we weren’t that close, I thought (hoped) we’d be friends, that I’d see you around our hall and campus, that we’d talk more – four years is a long time, after all.
Every time we did talk, you surprised me, in a good way, and I could tell you were an amazing person with a lot to give to the world. I regret that I hadn’t taken the chance and gotten to know you sooner.
Even so, you’ve changed me and many others. You’ll always be a part of this campus, this community, and of everyone who was lucky enough to meet you.
-Alexa Overdorff, ’17
I will never take my life fore granted ever again. At around 3pm, I casually checked my school email and like always, there’s one or two unread emails in my inbox. But this time, it was different, the email was titled- Special Edition: Death of a student.
That immediately caught my eyes and I clicked on it. After reading the whole email, I felt deeply saddened by this girl’s untimely passing. She was only 19 years old and had a bright future in front of her. Most importantly, she was my friend’s best friend and watching my friend grieve makes me grieve too.
Three semesters ago, I found myself in the same situation when three people in my high school died in the same week – that was a rough period for me – I didn’t know those people but they were my friends’ friends. Not only that, two of them were high school seniors.
I grieved for almost a week, wondering why those people had to go back to heaven so early. Today, this same thought came into my head when I read this tragic news. From now on, I will be thankful for every moment of my life and every person who I befriended during the course of my lifetime. We’ll never know when our last day on earth will be. I will never ever take my life fore granted after today.
– Zhuoran Zhang, ’16
Rest easy Juliette, although we only started to really get to know each other briefly you will be missed.
-Mike Pagen, ’17
Juliette, you were one of the nicest and most down to earth people I have ever met. You always reached out to me and made me feel so welcome when I changed halls. I loved you so much and I can’t believe we were just talking the other day and now you’re gone. You made such a positive impact on so many peoples’ lives. You were amazing. Never forget that.
-Megan Whalen, ’17
Hey Juliette. We were never close and we don’t even have a picture together. But we started to talk more for the past few weeks and your genuineness touched me more than any other person’s. I miss your smile and humor. Rest in peace.
-Kate Tian, ’17
I’ll always be your Asian princess. Forever and always.
-Jen Kim, ’17
Rest in peace, Juliette.
-Sophie Zhang (17)
Hey, Juliette. I debated writing this all yesterday because I didn’t think I could handle writing about you so soon, but I wanted everyone to know just how much you meant to me which is why I decided to write this. I already know that I’m going to write this and think about a bajillion other things I could have written. If you had been here as I was debating, you would have rolled your eyes and called me stupid as you said, “Just post it if you want to, jeez.”
Crazy how much time has passed since we met. I always laugh when I think about the second night of orientation week. We were on our way to AEPI, the first of many times, and we had to cross the street. You ran across, and I leisurely strolled while stating: “I don’t run.” You later told me that you thought I was the biggest diva, but you still gave me a shot.
We were literally inseparable during the first few months of college. Whenever we would get invited anywhere, we would tell them that we’re a package deal, not that they didn’t already know. We went on so many adventures together.
You used to say, “We’re a nicely decorated room” when we dressed similarly. On the days that we weren’t so matchy-matchy, you would say, “Today we’re a disheveled room.” I had always been pretty jealous of you since we met. I saw you on the first day, and my first thought was, “She’s so pretty, and she seems really cool. I’m going to be her best friend.” I think that’s one of the only times that my plan to be friends with a person worked out.
You were always so brave. You said things to me and other people that I never had the balls to do. And, you punched me in the face when I asked you to. That’s some bravery that I’ve never experienced before. You were also hilarious. I remember when we were struggling to catch our breath after seeing this guy move-in and all of his move-in boxes had some kind of cheese on them. We were like, “HE’S A CHEESE DEALER. If we ever need our fix, we know who to go to.”
You had the coolest clothes too. Funny that the last time I saw you, you were angry at me for never wearing any of my clothes. You said, “I never see you wear any of your clothes. You have so much clothing. I’m going to start going in your room and wearing your clothes. They deserve to be worn.” I would have loved to see you parading around in my clothing and think to myself, “Huh. I forgot I had that.”
You were always so adventurous. Always down to go somewhere and do something. I was so surprised when I figured out that you were such a homebody. You talked about your hometown so often. There wasn’t a day that you didn’t mention Ashley Aylaian and how much you missed her. You kept talking about all of your adventures with her. I felt like I knew her from everything you told me.
You were also one of the kindest people I had met. You took care of me on multiple occasions when I was on an embarrassing level. And who can forget the fact that you bought me breakfast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I was able to see just how great of an impact you made on everyone around you and especially your friends.
So many people who knew about our friendship have come and offered any kind of help they can give. I was incredibly overwhelmed that my friendship with you continues to better my life even after your passing. I will absolutely treasure all the time that we spent together. Thank you for all the laughs, the arguments, the sketchy moments, the great times, and most of all for your friendship. Rest easy, lovely. Miss and love you lots.
Ps. You would have absolutely murdered me if you saw some of these pictures that I posted of you.
-Aya Mariner, ’17