Leaving the Colby bubble
"Well, I wouldn't want to live with strangers..."
That's when I knew the kid I was talking to last Thursday would not end up being a friend of mine. Because we are in schmoozy Washington, DC, first (and most importantly) we inquired about each other's jobs, then asked about colleges/hometowns and finally discussed neighborhoods/roommates. This fellow lived alone in a studio apartment, rejecting the very typical DC experience of sharing a row house with random people from Craigslist.
I'm not living with Craigslist finds--the four other people I share a house with are friends of a friend of a friend (or something like that). Still, they were strangers when I moved in last month. Now (and especially after a whole week of being snowed in together during Snowpocalypse 2010), I feel like I have a whole house full of good friends.
The Colby bubble doesn't pop when you graduate. I stayed safely ensconced in Mule love during the fall when I lived in Boston. I shared an apartment with another '09-er and spent most of my weekends either hanging with other Colby kids who lived in the city, hosting others who were traveling through town or visiting friends in New York or Maine.
On the surface, it's kind of similar here in DC. One of my best friends from Colby--a girl I met on the first day of COOT2--lives around the corner. Another friend, with whom I went on a JanPlan trip to China, lives a few blocks down the road. Another friend from my freshman-year dorm lives a few blocks down the other way. We hang out all the time. And it's really great to have a thriving, built-in social life with people I don't have to try to impress. After graduating, I knew I would miss my friends, especially the core group of 10 or so who have seen with me at my absolute worst and still manage to love me. But I figured (correctly) that I would live near at least a few of them and visit the others. What I didn't realize was that I would end up feeling lost and (cheesy and cliché as this sounds) empty inside. It can be hard to understand the different functions your different friends serve when you're around all of them all the time. But when you're not around the one friend who can always get you pumped about your future or the one who can always make you laugh so hard you snort, the dissolution of your crew is painfully obvious.
I spent most of the fall on my phone. Aside from the radiation damage that it probably caused my brain, it wasn't very good for my soul (or social life). Now, I think I'm doing a better job moving on. Sure, my room is still plastered with photos of my friends and me hanging on Runnals on skirt day, lounging on the dock at the Outing Club cabin and piled on couches in my Dana five-man. Sure, I'm talking to four of my Colby friends on G-Chat right now. Sure, I have three friends coming to stay with me for DC Doghead.
But I'm living and working with strangers who are very quickly turning into good friends. And all of those indispensable BFFs? Well, they were strangers once, too.