Friends, Foes and Complex Carbohydrates

The year was 2014. I was still grinding at non-grinding parties and meticulously annotating every class reading. Intro to Psych, much like the test bubbles that I incorrectly filled in, was B-A-D. Internship rejections flowed with greater consistency than the East Hall showers, to which I dutifully donned shower shoes. Freshman spring smote me like we were protagonists of a black-and-white slapstick comedy.

But most soul crushingly of all, a girl I was friends with sat me down in the Heiber Café to tell me she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore; my laugh was too obnoxious, our personalities didn’t mesh, it wouldn’t work out. With the sagacity of hindsight, I know she’s right. My laugh is loud and peppered with snorts and cackles. And our personalities didn’t mesh; I don’t like mean people. But at the time, it felt like I had stepped into a comedic roast minus the comedy.

As I nursed my medium house blend, she sliced, marinated and barbecued my personality. It wasn’t newsworthy. The Café line snaked and people around us recapped their weekends, and I sat somewhere in between, feeling sad. But my freshman sadness was the good kind. It was feeble enough to overcome as I barreled towards maturity and sorted the important from the unimportant.

As my psych grade and my confidence competed on which could be lower, my freshman year creaked shut. I went home for the summer and surrounded myself with friends so legit that they would download MP3s of my obnoxious laughter. My self esteem deficit was exceeded, since I worked as a camp counselor for 13 year olds, and teens think I’m cooler than an Urban Outfitters polaroid camera. It worked out, because my problems are small and my real friends are large in number.

I thought about my freshman year a lot that summer. I showed up to college with the idea that I was the quirky but lovable protagonist in a raucous buddy comedy, produced by Judd Apatow – only to find that I was in the audience of a low budget, poorly acted ABC family teen drama (now Freeform…a name change I will never understand). But as the credits roll, and the cleaning guy is coming to clean up the sticky stuff on the floor (in the words of Dewey Finn), I can see how getting friend dumped in the Heiber Café pushed me to be a more compassionate, confident person. My affinity for bagels, and other complex carbohydrates, was untarnished by the incident – and for that I’m grateful.