If you're lucky, sometime in your freshman year of college, you either had or will have a moment where you look around and think to yourself, "Wow, these are my people." For me, that moment was had over nights spent watching cartoons in my dorm with three fellow legal adults who didn't think that was a lame thing to do at all, and I wondered how I had managed to find these glorious needles in the vast haystack of campus. On paper, it might seem like an unlikely fluke that four friends with very different majors and extracurricular interests would end up being something of a "squad," yet there we were. Fate had made us all neighbors, and looking back on it more than two years later, I couldn't be more thankful that they came into my life.
Of course, as college has gone on - far too quickly, I'm afraid - we've all gotten involved in different things. While I spend a lot of my free time on writing and yoga, they participate in everything from Ultimate Frisbee to church groups to Greek life. We've made other friends and even formed other squads of our own. And last semester, all of them went abroad to different countries while I stayed in New Orleans. This past week was the first time I had seen them since May, yet it was almost as if no time had gone by. At the end of the day, they'll always be my original Tulane squad. So what is it that makes that freshman-year bond so strong and so special?
Leaving home for the first time is a scary thing. You miss the people you've grown up with terribly, and you're having to do things on your own that you never even considered. The original squad are the people who were there when you still had mascara stains on your face after your parents left, and it was a little awkward because you didn't know each other that well yet, but they understood. They're the ones who helped you set up roach traps in your new dorm and who worked together to lower your bed frame so that it wasn't too high for you to climb into. They're the ones who were there the first time you got sick without your mom around, and whom you really weren't even that annoyed with for getting food crumbs all over your perfectly clean floor because deep down you were just so glad they wanted to hang out with you. They liked you at your weirdest and most awkward. They're the first thing that kind of started to feel like home again.
That's why, no matter how much things change, that friendship pretty much stays the same. Time and distance and new friends don't break a bond like that, because they'll always hold a special spot in your heart as the reason you survived that first semester. So to my freshman-year squad, I just want to say thank you, and welcome back. And to everyone else, always make time for those first friends; I know I intend to.