Sunday, October 4, 2009

We Even Pooped Together

When you're between the ages of 18 and 22 and you're living away from home and your family and parents for the first time ever, and you get to make important life decisions on your own, and set up your room just the way you want it, and get to find and explore your passions in life, you sort of have it made. You can stay up all night, eat whatever you want, pick your own classes, rule your own life, and, seemingly, things couldn't get any better. And then you meet the people. The people, man. It just got better.

Once upon a time, in a small town in Wisconsin, all these weird kids met each other and the world changed. I don't know why we all decided to meet there; I know I, for one, heard my high school friend/prom date's friend Kate talk about Beloit College at some point, and I thought, "Yeah, that sounds fine. Maybe I'll go there." I filled out some forms and wrote an essay, auditioned for a music scholarship, applied for another scholarship, got them both, and off I went to Beloit College. And it was there that I met the most remarkable, most amazing, most interesting people ever in the world.

They came from the East Coast, West Coast, New England, Hawaii, Michigan, the Midwest itself, and "just outside Chicago," among other places. They met by smiling at each other, introducing themselves to strangers, and inviting each other to sit together at dinner. And somehow, probably because of some clash of something magical in the universe, they all clicked. I won't speak for the rest of you, but I know that at that point, my life changed.

I'm sure there are articles and essays written about the importance of bonding with friends and peers at certain ages in order to develop social and interpersonal skills, but whatevs, I haven't read any of them. I can imagine hypotheses written about brains aged 18 - 22 years old and why they are often so susceptible, so impressionable, so...open? Is there some sort of hormone that gets released when you enter college that makes you unconditionally love and understand everybody who crosses your path? Or was it just a wonderful phenomenon that only happens in the magical land of Beloit?

Or...maybe it's that we live together, sometimes sharing beds just a few inches apart, and thusly have to connect because we have no choice. Or maybe it's because we spend every waking (and sometimes, sleeping) moment with each other, whether it's brushing our teeth together, showering in stalls next to each other, walking to class together, eating together, drinking together, playing music together, staying up late together, or laying with heads on shoulders, not talking together. I mean, that's got to be it, right? To quote one Andy Brink (RA extraordinaire of the famous 819 sophomore year, 1998 - 1999), "We even pooped together!" Yeah, I'd say that's it.

We all faced an inevitably beautiful vulnerability of being on our own, totally alone, with nothing familiar in our lives, and we came out of it all with connections unlike anything we had experienced before. We had little choice but to open up and allow each other in if we wanted to survive. And thankfully, it all resulted in love.

I'm not totally sure what the focus of this is, or the point, or whether I'm clearly explaining exactly what I'm trying to say, and I know I'm all over the place. But I can say (in a focused, clear way) that I couldn't have had a better group of friends to do everything together with. We clicked like nothing had ever clicked before. I should hesitate to even use the word "clicked." More fitting: exploded, combusted, detonated. All violent and negative words, unfortunately, but all having to do with fire for some reason. So...whatever a positive fiery word might be...that's what my friends and I are like. Positive and fiery. That's us.



9 comments:

Erica said...

I LOVE it (and you) Reem! You ROCK!

kittymodern said...

i had a similar experience and reem you captured it perfectly.

SophisticatedBrew said...

Duh. Yes. TOTALLY! Well said.

Valerie said...

wow i'm really jealous. this isn't anything like my college experience at MSU. i didn't have any friends that went to school with me. everyone sucked and didn't want to be my friend. i studied alone and partied with the local punks.

RebeccaL said...

This is beautiful. Also nothing at all like my own college experience, unfortunately.

Bea said...

You ignited.

Can't remember if that's what I said the first time around, but I thought I'd give us another try :)

Elizabeth said...

I wish I felt that way about friends I made in college... I have three friends from RISD that I'm still in touch with, but two of them live in New York City and the other lives in California. When I transferred to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, it was so easy to hang out with people from high school than make new friends that that's pretty much what I did. One of my teachers from SAIC summed it up best: when I told him I was living in the dorms instead of an apt. because I wanted to have "the college experience," he said, "You're at the wrong school for that." As for grad school, I'm good friends with one of my teachers from there, but he was a family friend before I went to Columbia College Chicago for grad school. I don't know, but I think there's something about art school that makes it difficult to make those kind of connections versus a liberal arts college. But then again, there is kind of a "RISD 2" phenomena going on in New York.... all these ppl who graduated from the same class at RISD living in Brooklyn. I got to RISD with a really bad attitude and a really bad chip on my shoulder, which at first hindered me from making friends and ultimately led to me getting super tight with the wrong ppl (ie, the bitchy girls I shared an apt. with my sophomore year there.) But as far as bonding with people at college went, I pretty much got (or gave myself) the shaft.

Elizabeth said...

I was just reading over my comment... I lived in two apts my sophomore year at RISD-- the first one I shared with the bitchy girls I referred to, and the second with very good, open-hearted people who took me in when my bitchy roommates kicked me out/ I ran away screaming from them. So: when I refer to the bitchy girls, I am referring to the FIRST girls I shared an apt. with... the girls in the second one are unbelievably awesome people... I'm still in touch with them. I hope you post this so the world will know I was referring to my first set of roommates as bitches and not my second set!

M Deva said...

This is lovely, Reem! (I've been a bit behind on your blogs... but I am now fully caught up and this one was - of course - my favorite of the recent ones.) I truly think that it wasn't just us, it was also sort of Beloit College's doing. I know that some of my other old friends from high school went off to college and made great friends but I really only know of one person that still has a "love affair" (like us) with a group of his old college mates... everyone else is just "casually" friends still with a few of their college mates. I think Beloit and the environment there was really special and attracted some great people. I also, think that if all dorms at Beloit were a bit different than most normal university dorms - 819 was UEBER special because it was a a tiny, cozy dorm-house with just the perfect mix - perfect fiery concoction - of freshmen from all over.