Make new friends, but keep the old

Karly, Nick and I sat in the front row of composition and critical thinking freshman year, but we didn’t really talk. Madison and Jordan sat in the second row. I didn’t really talk to them much, either. I rolled my eyes at their married-couple-esque arguing, instead.

I’m almost positive we all went from that class to another class together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We still didn’t really talk.

I didn’t get out much freshman year. I had meets on the weekends, plus the cross country team provided built-in friends for me; I felt like I didn’t need anyone else.

I would never have foreseen close friendships with any of the aforementioned people.

Mado and me at a Yankees game last April.
Mado and me at a Yankees game last April.

Now, Madison’s my housemate and I  practically spend my weekends either at Karly’s house or texting Karly. Nick and I talk on a regular basis and, the last –– and only –– time Jordan visited when he actually had a free moment, he hugged me before he left.

You may find your supposed “group” freshman year, but that shit can change. Be open to it. Meet new people. Establish new connections. Don’t be that clique in the dining hall that always eats together. Mix it up. Say “hi” to people when you pass them. Be friendly.

Next semester’s new classes could mean a whole new set of friends to talk to and hang out with. A whole new house to go to and someone new to meet in the café for coffee. New conversations. New stories.

St. Bonaventure University is a family and we often forget to be kind to our brothers and sisters. I judged Karly, Nick, Madison and Jordan freshman year. I tossed them aside and disregarded any potential friendships. They’re the ones who reached out to me. I’m thankful for that outreach. Having them as friends has provided me with laughter, someone to seek advice from, deep conversations and, yes, hugs.

I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve changed. I’ve let people in whom I never saw myself opening up to. Most of all, I’ve learned how to be empathetic.

We lost a member of our Bonaventure family this past weekend. I didn’t know him; I’d only seen him around campus. But I’ll write it again: we lost a member of our family. In all the times I saw him walking around wearing a straight-brimmed hat, I never foresaw tragedy striking his life. I never knew what impact he might one day have on me and the rest of my family.

We gathered in the chapel tonight for a candlelight vigil. The beauty of it struck me. One flame ignites all of our candles. We’re in this together. 

He’ll always be remembered. He pushed us closer together as a family.

Let’s say “hi” to each other more often. Let’s be empathetic. Let’s embrace new relationships instead of shying away from them, sticking only to our comfort zones.

Karly and I have a hug planned for when we see each other tomorrow in class. Madison made me laugh hysterically tonight. Nick and I talked until 2 a.m. Jordan hasn’t been around recently, but that’s understandable.

Let it be.

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