Mid-Semester Sappiness

Marissa Roberge

The last time I read a book for pleasure, I was about to embark on a 21-hour plane ride and I needed something light to get me through. The book happened to follow three college friends from graduation until the age of thirty. It covered everything: first jobs, paying rent, career trajectory, marriage and children — or lack thereof. For a college senior, this book ended up being anything but light. Suddenly every possible life outcome, good or bad, for the next nine years of my life was splayed out on the pages before me. What if I can’t find a job and end up waitressing my whole life? What if I get stuck in an unfulfilling career and have to start over at the age of 30? What if I never find someone to share my life with? But maybe the scariest premonition of all was what it will be like to go through these struggles without my Colgate friends.

So what is it that makes these friendships so unique? My friends at Colgate have contributed to my personal and intellectual growth as much, if not more than, my courses and professors. I learned to care about the environment not because I took a handful of ENST courses but because 50 percent of my friends are vegetarians who yell at me when I don’t recycle properly and forced me to watch the documentary “Cowspiracy.” By being open and honest with me about personal experiences, encouraging me to attend brown bags at Women’s Studies and enroll in Yes Means Yes, they’ve helped me become more knowledgeable and aware of things like power and privilege, race, sexuality and gender. We’ve held each other when we’ve cried, laughed until we’ve cried and I am a better, more confident, empowered and loving person because of their impact on my life.

The presidential election and policy changes since have put these relationships in even greater perspective. Watching the election with my girlfriends and the shared devastation when it became clear Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States was overwhelming. Never again will such like-minded people — passionate about the same social justice issues and supportive of one another — surround me. These are women who drive to protests and rallies with me, who stand up for me and others I care about. They listen to me seriously when I express fears — they don’t roll their eyes. It is a constant source of worry in our house: where are we going to find this security and community in the “real world?”

The relationships I’ve developed over my time at Colgate have been like no other relationships in my life. It’s one of the reasons I am terrified to graduate come May: my dearest friends will be spread around the world. Of course, with modern technology, there is nothing stopping me from keeping in touch. Between Facebook, Instagram, email and Skype I’ll have countless ways of communicating with them. Still, there’s nothing like the comforting feeling of coming home to a house full of your closest confidantes or crawling into your best friend’s bed with a slice after a long evening of studying or dancing at the Jug. Life after Colgate is going to be lacking without them, so until that day comes, I’ll hold them a little closer and relish every moment we have left.