Last year around this same time, I wrote an article called “An Ode to Porches.” It took me a total of 30 minutes to write and it’s still one of my favorite pieces to date. If you haven’t read it (What are you waiting for? Go do it!), it’s a little blurb about my love for porches over the years and how I lucked out in fulfilling my dream of having my very own concrete paradise right here in Oakland. Little did I know that the months after writing that piece, my little porch would change my life even more.
A bit of backstory: I’m currently a senior here at Pitt, living on one of the main streets in South Oakland. My four roommates and I share our house with a group of seven frat brothers. I know what you are thinking – what a trip that must be living above a pseudo frat house. Those were my exact feelings during the initial months when we only knew them in passing, which lasted up until the fateful day I actually got to know these young men.
When the coronavirus hit the United States, lockdown in Oakland turned our world upside-down. Like everyone else, we were unable to really leave our home, so my beautiful, cozy and oh-so comforting porch became a sanctuary. My roommates and I were out there day and night studying, drinking, eating, drinking, playing cards and drinking – anything to get us out of our stuffy house and into fresh air. Much to my surprise, our neighbors had the exact same plan. While we technically split the porch 50/50, in the past if one group were on the porch, the others would vacate and vice versa. Not this time, though; no one was willing to leave the porch for the sake of the other. This time we were all together, separated by eight feet of space and a ratty old leather futon positioned smack in the middle of our two homes.
Now, I can’t tell you the exact moment when our household of five suddenly became a house of twelve. Maybe it was the small talk that blossomed into obscure and deep conversations out of quarantine boredom, maybe it was the negotiations over hanging up new lights and getting outside carpets, or maybe it was just the excitement of getting to talk to someone you haven’t been sharing the same four walls with for the last eight months. But somewhere in-between all of the chaos and craziness, we were becoming actual friends with our neighbors.
Skip forward a few months: after hours of grueling schoolwork to even more hours spent laughing on our porch, up until when I’m writing this now, I can now confidently call this very entertaining group of guys my friends. Somehow, through the power of shady Oakland landlords, a global pandemic and one mighty fine porch, I was able to make a group of life-long friends in the strangest of places. I know, I know, what does this 20-something know about life-long friends? It might come off as naive and silly to think that I will be close with this entire group for the rest of my life, but these people truly have helped make my college experience what it is. I am well aware that we may grow apart as the years go by, but the memories I have made in this house, on what has been called “The Best Porch in South O,” with these people I will have forever.
As graduation day approaches, I sat down to write what just might be my last Her Campus article ever. If that isn’t depressing enough for you, this is also one of the last times I will be able to call myself a Pitt student. As I write these last few words, I am so grateful for my experience here at Pitt, the knowledge I have gained, the friendships I have made and yes, even the little family that was created on the porch of the crumbling little blue house I call home.