No New Friends

This summer I will be interning in Washington, D.C. and as usual, I am leaving tomorrow and have barely started packing. As I pack away business casual (whatever that means) clothes and check things off my packing list, I remember the most important thing that cannot be forgotten. I have a green Care Bear pillowcase that reads “Lucky Me” under the bear from 5th grade and it is coming to D.C. with me. It also accompanied me on move in day freshman year at Saint Mary’s as well as when I studied abroad in Ireland as a sophomore. It comes on road trips and back and forth to home on school breaks. As I was folding it up and gently setting it into my overflowing suitcase, I thought about all my friends who have sentimental items from when they were little like my Care Bear pillowcase that I have seen displayed in dorm rooms and snap chats. This made me wonder, when did these childhood items that we were once so embarrassed about, that we hid them away from friends when they came over for sleepovers or threw them under our beds when a crush was coming over to hang out, become a vital part of our lives again?

For me, my Care Bear pillow is a piece of me at this point. It has caught my tears from fights with friends and my parents, been there for me on my sick days and comforted me when I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was feeling low. At some point, I stopped feeling like I had to explain the backstory of my childish pillowcase (Oh this isn’t serious, my best friend got it for me for my 11th birthday because we were Care Bear sisters when we were younger… haha) and started to embrace it. I think we have all embraced the teddy bears and battered baby blankets in our lives because whether or not we like to admit it, we are scared. We were scared when we started at Saint Mary’s, not knowing if we would find home on campus or cry to go home to our families. We were scared when we went abroad without our best friends and were forced to make new ones. And now, like many, I am scared that I am moving to a city where I can count on one hand how many people I know living there.

Everyone has asked me if I’m excited for my summer internship, and of course I am, but I am also terrified. That is why I need my Care Bear pillowcase and why other people take their teddy bear with them on new adventures and into new chapters of their lives. For most Saint Mary’s students, this summer is a time where things are changing. Some girls just graduated high school and are nervously awaiting their arrival to campus in August, incoming sophomores are preparing to go abroad or to face a year at Saint Mary’s while their friends are gone, forcing them to step outside of their comfort zones. And, like me, many Belles are starting an internship or being reluctantly pushed into the real world, moving to big, unfamiliar cities. These are not easy tasks and sometimes we are not as brave as we think we are, and this is okay. It is okay to hold onto a little piece of home and it is okay to seek ought the familiar when your life seems turned upside down.

We are not childish to display our childhood tokens as if they are badges of honor. We are not naive to be seeking comfort in the past. We are strong, intelligent and brave Saint Mary’s women and yes, we have baby blankets, stuffed animals and pillows that help us keep our heads on straight and motivate us to keep working hard, and that is just fine. Life is unpredictable and rapidly changing with no way of slowing it down, but what we can rely on is having our childhood souvenirs waiting for us to come home and snuggle, and that is pretty awesome.

Pictures: 1, 2