As a second semester freshman in college, it’s easy to feel hopeless about your social situation.
For me, I had not made a lot of friends at that point and it seemed like everyone around me had. Second semester, I was looking to improve my happiness so I decided to do one of things I wished I had first semester and joined the Old Gold & Black.
Best decision ever.
Being a part of the Old Gold & Black has not only brought me new opportunities and new experiences, but also new friends.
When I joined as a production assistant, I was very socially timid. The only two people who I was really familiar with were Erin Stephens and Natalie Wilson, the news editors. Before going up to the office on production nights, I would experience a surge of panic. What if neither of them was there?
One day, I ran into Erin, Natalie and their assistant editor, Amanda. I hadn’t been able to make it to production night that week and they told me that they missed me and hoped I was coming back. I assured them I was. They could probably tell that I was scared, so they all gave me their numbers and told me to text any one of them when I was coming up to see if they were in the office.
I must’ve felt a kinship with Amanda, who was also a freshman, because I started texting her every week to see if she was up at the office (which I still totally do every week).
At some point in the semester, as we slowly started talking on production nights, I told Amanda about my American government class. I had failed my midterm and had an upcoming paper on a political figure. Amanda, who is outwardly a political-knowledge powerhouse, offered to help. As I was legitimately failing the class, I had to pull through on the essay somehow. So, I took Amanda up on her offer. We bonded over my choice of political figure, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And the rest is history.
Although we only became friends halfway through second semester, we became friends fast and hard. Amanda and I are so alike in many ways. We both have an affinity for romantic comedies, the oxford comma and the pit. Even the Aramark workers always ask us if we’re sisters because we sort of look alike and rarely eat a meal without each other. I could continue on with the ways in which Amanda and I are similar (love of memes, hatred of President Trump and menstruation, parents who graduated from Wake Forest back in 1985, etc.). But that’s not what friendship is about, now is it?
Friendship is about complementing another person with your differences.
The other day, Amanda said to me: “Lillian, you judge me for so many things that I’m surprised we’re still friends.” It’s true; I won’t deny it. There are many things about Amanda that I judge her for. For one thing: her ambivalent of acceptance of croc clogs as acceptable footwear for college boys. For another thing: she has a big, fancy vocabulary as if she read a thesaurus as a child.
Amanda also makes a lot of decisions that I just cannot support — and 99 percent of them have to do with food.
I fully support her vegetarianism and do not make fun of her for it. But can I really support the fact that she got a chocolate chip bagel from Bagel Station? You read that right, folks, a chocolate chip bagel. I, a native New Jerseyan and bagel expert, was physically hurt by this order. It didn’t help that she got it with regular cream cheese. Now, maybe had she gotten it with a sweeter schmear, like cinnamon butter, I could have maybe turned a blind eye. She also thinks pit pizza is acceptable, which again is hurtful to my inner Jersey girl; and Amanda has mispronounced Reese’s Cups, my favorite chocolate candy. To clarify: she said “ree-sees” when in fact it is “ree-sis.”
But in true complementary fashion, Amanda also thinks strange of some of my actions. She definitely thinks I’m a crazy person when I walk out of the pit, my hands full of desserts and fruit. Or when I steal a piece of cutlery or a dish, saying “I live for the thrill.” I also don’t think she fully understands my obsession with finding out if Kylie Jenner will ever confirm if she’s pregnant. To be honest, I don’t either.
In our loving judgements of each other (but mostly mine of her) lies a crucial lesson about friendship: To celebrate the ways in which your friends are fundamentally different from you. That’s why it’s important to keep making friends, even halfway into second semester of freshman year and beyond: new friends will expand your horizons and open you up to a whole new world (unless that world is filled with chocolate chip bagels).