Please Be My Friend

On the first day of kindergarten, I made two new friends by simply sitting on the carpet with the people who had the coolest stuffed animals and asking if they wanted to be my best friends forever. It was that simple. We were best friends until I switched schools. In high school, I befriended and remained friends with the person across from me in my first-period geometry class. My way of making friends isn’t that complex and I had hoped to use the same method here at SLU. With the pandemic, however, I’m never sitting within six feet of someone, so finding these easy beginnings are so much more difficult. 

I prepared extensively throughout high school for this collegiate transition. Yet, instead of the bustling activities fair that I expected from the movie “Pitch Perfect” that would connect me with the perfect group of friends, I had Zoom meetings that connected me with activities but no true meaningful connections (yet). There has been no group project that teamed me with a cute boy like in “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell. All the tips and tricks I had garnered from “The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, and Have the Best Years of Your Life” and “U Chic: College Girls’ Real Advice for Your First Year (and Beyond!)” have been absolutely useless, though I am not particularly surprised by that. I listened to my dad’s fraternity party stories over and over my entire life preparing for this moment. I watched “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” twice for this. Now, I would rather chew off my own foot than go to a party and risk getting sick. 

I have slid into people’s Zoom private chats to compliment outfits and backgrounds in hope of finding someone to befriend. I have added people on Snapchat and swipe up on their stories. I am constantly gassing people up in the halls, which has had limited success. Yet, the only way I truly made friends in this new collegiate setting has also been fundamentally based on proximity. My roommate, the person who lives across the hall from me, and the girl who lives down the hall from me are my closest college friends. 

Social distancing has literally made me distanced socially from other lovely freshmen. On top of everything else, wearing a mask makes it impossible for me to recognize anyone I see on-campus I’ve seen during a Zoom class. For better or worse, the classroom settings where I would strive to make friends the most have been replaced by a computer screen full of black squares with people’s names. 

Despite these challenges, I will admit that the relationships I have made are quite meaningful and a socially-distanced journey to the Billiken statue will forever hold a tender place in my heart. Jenga, Egyptian Rat Screw, invention and a variety of other invigorating games made the first few weeks at SLU special. Yet as a person with a huge FOMO complex, losing some vital parts of the college experience has been frustrating to say the least. College is meant to be a place not only for academic growth but social expansion as well. So this is me, sitting on the carpet in my dorm room: do you want to be my best friend forever?