There’s one detail in particular that stood out to me in my colleague Tina Karst’s terrific cover story in this issue about grad Christina Romeril’s unconventional path from a career in finance to fiction writing. And that’s the fact her life-long best friend, Cheryl Seaborn, was by her side during Christina’s college years cheering her on, and she has been there ever since. You can hear the confidence and pride in Cheryl’s voice when she speaks of Christina’s success today. I love that so much.
I have been thinking a lot about the friends we make at college lately, especially since I had the chance to spend time with one of my college besties this spring. Sara and I met at our school’s equivalent of New Student Orientation, unknowingly creating a lifelong friendship before classes even started. We were in the same small group and we hit it off from the start. We endured Geology 101 (“Rocks for Jocks”) and a few other classes together that first year, became housemates in second year, shared the ups and downs of life as young adults, and pretty much served as the unofficial president of each other’s fan club throughout our college years.
After graduation, we continued to stay connected even as our lives took us to different cities and, eventually, different countries. At first with letters and phone calls, then with email and instant messages, and most recently with Zoom and a glass of wine, we shared and share the little details of our worlds. We laugh at the funny stories about our various animals, we exuberantly celebrate each other’s personal and professional successes, and we quietly and kindly share the grief of each other’s heartache and losses.
I went to visit Sara in May right after she had to move her mom into hospice. There’s not a lot you can do to help a friend during such a difficult time, but somehow it felt better being there (and cooking, because food always helps when you don’t know what else to do). I loved how easy it was to slip back into our comfortable conversations, how our friendship was as familiar and comforting as that well-worn college T-shirt from first year that we both still have in our closets.
When I think of students coming to campus this fall, one of the things that brings me so much joy is the idea that some of them will find their own version of Sara and Cheryl at New Student Orientation (or sitting next to them in a class or waiting in line in the Food Court). They don’t know it yet, but that lifelong best friend is out there already, and their paths will soon cross and keep them walking together for the days and decades to come.
I’d love to hear about your best friends from college – I think there is probably a great story there! Who was the person who understood exactly how it felt to fail that big assignment or win that amazing honour? Who knew all the not-so-great boyfriends or girlfriends before you met the right one? Who is still there for you today, even if the ups-and-downs are quite different than they were during your college days? Drop me a note at WHMagazine@lethbridgecollege.ca – and give that friend a call while you’re at it. I am pretty sure they’d be thrilled to hear from you.
As always – thanks for reading!
Lisa Kozleski, Editor