I first met Ryan freshman year, in Arch 101. At that time, my year was huge and as such we split up into little groups that six different TA's sort of taught. We all did the same assignments, but reviewed in these small groups and they actually had a good bit of freedom when it came to what we did and some of the exercises to help prepare us for the mini projects along the way. I'll never forget striking up a conversation with Ryan one of the very first days, simply because of his last name (withheld for privacy).
We ended up getting together to work on one of our first little projects together, which was honestly a joke compared to what we have to produce now (it was a simple six-sided cube out of chipboard). No one really had the right materials or tools at that time, and I remember distinctly using a kitchen cutting board to cut my stuff as we sat at Ryan's mini ping pong table that was in his apartment at the time.
Over the years Ryan and I became really close friends, and we were in the same studio section with the exception of only 3 semesters, those being second semester Freshman year, second semester Junior year, and second semester Senior year. He was the guy I roomed with in Barcelona, the guy I lived with upon returning to Clemson, and the one who inspired me to get a road bike.
Despite his exponentially better skill on the bike (he rides professionally) he was always inviting me out to rides, encouraging me to stick with it, waiting for me at the tops of hills, and slowing down the pace when I was getting worn out. It's because of him that I am so in love with going through life on two wheels, and because of him that I am the cyclist that I am today. He's really the reason I bought a road bike in the first place.
Rides with just the two of us were the best. We'd cruise around, and while on occasion we would work real hard, most days we'd ride at a semi-leisurely pace (14-18mph) and talk about life. He was one of those people who really clicked with the same sorts of virtues and values and morals that I have, and because of that we could often share similar sentiments regarding relationships, religion and the like.
Ryan would always include me in whatever he was doing, whether it was going out to eat (and even if I didn't go he'd offer to pick up something for me if I needed it), going to see a movie, coming over for a movie, or going downtown for a drink.
Looking back on college I have become so accustomed to having Ryan around that I think it will actually be difficult over the next two years. I really hope that we don't lose touch. He was and is probably one of if not my very best friend from college. I will always look up to him and I completely see him as a role model in my life, whether that is from Clemson or from across the country. Honestly he was the perfect friend for me to link up with while down at school. Ryan will be entering the packaging science graduate program at Clemson, deviating from the field of architecture. I wish him the very best in pursuing something that he truly loves.