The grieving best friends of slain Ole Miss student Alexandria "Ally" Kostial are using the lessons they've learned from the patient and positive 21-year-old to help them cope with her loss.
Kostial, who studied marketing, was an active member of the Ole Miss community, her friends say. She was the university golf club president, a member of the business fraternity, and a yoga and Pilates teacher on campus.
Adventurous, spontaneous, and a lover of sunsets, Kostial had new goals every day, whether to run an extra mile or start a business, her friends said.
Kostial "had a unique ability to just connect with people," friend Hannah Chauvin told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "She loved everyone and people loved her back."
To friend Claire Sigrist, Kostial's contagious smile "left a positive impact on every person she met."
"She's just a shining light...and she can turn any bad day into a good day," Sigrist told ABC News. "She would never say no to an opportunity that would further her life or her friends'."
Amid the shock and trauma of losing her in a brutal act of violence, Chauvin said it's lessons she's gained from Kostial that are helping her cope.
"Ally taught us how to look on the positive side of any situation," Chauvin said, smiling. "It's an extremely traumatic time, an extremely devastating time. But also we just have to think, we're just so lucky to have known Ally, so lucky that we spent so many great times with her. We have pictures and videos -- all laughing, all smiling."
Facing the difficulty of starting a new school year without Kostial, Chauvin said, "I feel honestly that Ally is still with me. Her impact is still with me. She touched my heart so much, I feel almost like, 'we can do this,' because we have met her."
"I miss her so much," Chauvin said. "I'm just so thankful I've had the time I had with her."
Sigrist said she's finding comfort in trying to live more like Kostial.
"It's hard, but it's just nice to know we do have Ally with us. Her light does shine. And she's taught us to love each other and love life," Sigrist said. "I just want to live my life more like her."
Family and friends have set up a GoFundMe to support funeral expenses and a future foundation in Kostial's name.
Ole Miss classmate Brandon Theesfeld, 22, was arrested and charged with Kostal's murder two days after her body was found.
Theesfeld has not yet entered a plea. His defense attorney, Tony Farese, told ABC News Thursday that he plans to enter a not guilty plea.