Three Stories of How I Met My Best Friends
January 21, 2019. About a week after my initial acceptance to St. Lawrence, and only a couple days short of my eighteenth birthday. Posts on the Facebook page for the recently accepted class had been coming in so quickly that most of them blurred together, but even in the chaos of it all, students had begun scrambling to find a roommate — myself included. It’s funny looking back now to think that the first girl on that page who I reached out to would end up being one of my closest friends, but when you know, you know (I guess).
“I never know how to start these things, but I saw your post in the SLU group and you seem really chill and I’d love to get to know you a little” — or something along the lines of that — had been the first message I sent out. First impressions are nerve-wracking for me, even through a screen, and I can still vividly remember the ten to twelve minutes I had spent anxiously waiting for a response.
A green icon appeared in the corner of her profile picture. She was online.
“Lol same I’ve been nervous to message people haha but I saw your post too and you seem so nice”
The rest is history.
Well, kind of.
There is still a lot of apprehension which builds when you’re waiting to meet your roommate — or in my case (living in a triple), roommates — for the first time. The experience of move-in day was already terrifying enough, and pulling into the Lee Hall roundabout, the anxiety that came with knowing that what I saw was going to be my home for the next year was palpable. As I stepped out of our overpacked car into the mass of students milling between Lee and Rebert, I looked to my mom in hopes of a short moment of moral support.
Surprise, surprise — an alumni herself, she was already shouting to an old St. Lawrence classmate with their own child moving in. I stood behind her, mouth agape, as if waiting for a cue to move to my room. It would turn out I didn’t need one.
“HANNAH!” A high, female voice on my right shouted. I turned quickly, and through a first-floor window adjacent to the front doors of the building, a familiar face pressed up to the screen.
That was Abby.
Party culture at St. Lawrence isn’t as overwhelming as it may be at a larger college, but it was definitely different from what I experienced in high school. Most of this could be attributed to the fact that, going into my first night out, I only knew my roommates and could loosely recognize a cluster of girls in a thirty-person group chat made prior to orientation.
It’s definitely interesting to see how people gravitate to each other in clustered environments; without knowing the personalities or interests of one another, girls, especially, tend to find small groups to stick with -- and in one of those tiny congregations (isolated in an enclave of some hot basement) was a girl who would soon become one of my closest friends.
It wasn’t during the hours of sweaty dancing or throat-burning singing that I really met her, though. It was afterwards. As the event wound down, the same cluster I’d been in milled down Romoda Drive, and the conversation drifted from recounting our first experience out to discussing a more pressing issue: our hunger. As someone who’d never had Sergi’s before, I was adamant to check that off the bucket list within the next hour — luckily for me, a girl who lived in another wing of Lee was willing to split the bill.
The pizza that night was almost as good as the conversation. Holed up in her room with three or so other girls, giggling conversation extended into the early hours of the morning. By 3:06 AM, wrapped in blankets and in desperate need of a shower, we finally began to wind down with the promise of seeing each other again the following day.
And we did.
That was the first pizza night of many with Nancy, and with three years left of our time at St. Lawrence, I hope for many more to come.
This last one is a little bit different. There are some people who are in our lives for extended periods of time, but whom we never consider close friends until circumstance calls for it. This one guy had always been like that; a summer friend who I’d see three weeks a year, along with his sister and a couple other people who vacationed in the same area.
The summer leading up to our freshman year had been especially exciting, as we both plotted the adventures we’d embark on once orientation began. Even once the year had started, though, I wasn’t entirely sure we’d stay good friends. After all, we hung out with different people and were on separate sides of campus.
But the friendship held up, and it got better. By December, we’d paid endless impromptu visits to one another's rooms and scheduled monthly dinners to catch up on life in general. Seeing him outside of the summer uncovered traits that wouldn’t have been recognized without going to St. Lawrence together — I already knew that he was hilarious and a great conversationalist, but I never would have learned that he had a loyal, emotional, and deeply family-oriented side. Freshman year at SLU was the ultimate test of if our friendship’s foundation was strong enough to stay close when we weren’t forced to see each other and had other friends to talk to — and we passed.
So while I already knew him, St. Lawrence was where Cole and I became close friends. Best friends, if you will. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.
St. Lawrence didn't just introduce me to two best friends, but it transformed a normal friendship into an extremely close one. While not one is more meaningful than the other, none of them would be existent without the friendly and outgoing community fostered here at SLU. Without that, there's no guarantee that Abby would've delved into conversation with the first person she met, no guarantee that Nancy would've engaged in a night of binge eating with a complete stranger, and no guarantee that Cole would've chose to upkeep relationships from outside of school. The environment St. Lawrence creates is one of deeply founded and meaningful relationships, ones that can be created in minutes and last a lifetime. It is both a gift we are given, and, to ensure the same experience for the next classes, a responsibility we must upkeep.