Eyes focused on the ground, I watched my sneaker plunge into a muddy puddle that collected on the sidewalk. I didn’t even bother to step out of the way. I didn’t care enough. I kept walking. I simply wanted to return to the solitude and warmth of my dorm. Monday had felt too long while the previous weekend had sped by. I felt groggy, a melancholy mood physically clouding my mind.
As I increased the volume on my headphones, the sound of Panic! at the Disco drowned out the rhythm of the rain. Only a block left. Crossing the street, a sinister voice crept up behind the blaring singing voice of Brendon Urie. Go home and be alone. Go home, no one is going to text you.
I felt disheveled. It was the third week of the semester, and I felt already stressed. My classes picked up speed, computer repairs took a hit to my bank account and affected my ability to submit my photography project.
I felt utterly alone, despite the friends that surrounded me
The first two years of college had gone well for me. I found a healthy balance of work and play. I discovered that I didn’t need to hide my passion for writing and activism. I even got a job and my first apartment. It seemed that things fell into place. Even so, in the back of my mind, I felt a slight tug of insecurity regarding my friendships.
Finding friends in college proved an oddly complicated process. While I met new people on a daily basis, I could not become close friends with each new acquaintance. It became difficult to differentiate between genuine friends and more shallow connections. Personally, my search for more authentic relationships stemmed from my past experiences. I’d had friends in the past who had hurt me. I needed friends who understood and accepted me in order for me to feel secure.
I’d met hilarious and amazing people at college. As I laughed uncontrollably while eating Domino’s Pizza on a dorm floor, not worried about what others thought of me, I knew I loved the special group of people around me. Still, my past falling-outs mixed with the fast pace of college life often left me wondering if my friends felt the same way. The connections I made were incredible, yet I continually wondered how long they would last.
As I walked up to the bright red door of my brownstone building, I frantically dug around in my purse for my keychain. When I finally felt it, I ripped the keys from my bag, throwing it slightly from my shoulder. My frustration grew as I fumbled to open the door and balance my falling bag.
In what was probably only 10 seconds, the key turned, and I loudly threw my bag and wet rain jacket in the corner of the room. I sighed and stepped in, closing the door behind me. I avoided looking at my roommate’s side of the room. I moved to the kitchen, hoping there were some leftovers I could heat up because I had no energy or patience to cook.
That’s when I saw it: an orange sticky note calling my attention to the kitchen table. Looking closer, I saw that the note sat on my roommate’s laptop. Sprawled across the rest of the table were all the cables, hard drives and camera accessories I needed for my upcoming photography project.
I leaned forward, looking at the small words written across the orange paper. My roommate had provided her computer password, instructions on how to access the editing program and doodles of hearts and smiley faces. After rereading the note twice more, I picked it up and held it to my chest. At that moment, I knew that my friends truly cared for me. Tears welled up in my eyes as I smiled. I felt loved knowing that someone had gone out of their way to help me.
Later, I told my roommate how much the note meant to me. “Oh my gosh, of course!” she exclaimed without skipping a beat.
With the ease and certainty that came with her answer, something clicked. I didn’t need to be suspicious of my friends. It just took a tangible orange sticky note for me to realize that. Looking back on my time in college so far, my friends have continuously showed me love by looking out for me, supporting my ambitions and simply spending time with me. I
know I have special people in my life, even if at times it seems as though they don’t have time for me. While seemingly small, random acts of kindness serve as priceless reminders of one’s true feelings towards you.