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We Found Friendship in an Unlikely Place

On the second day of orientation, a stressed out, highly anxious me sat at a table with another soon-to-be freshman as I waited for my individual advising appointment. While waiting, I was told to compile a list of at least ten courses I would be interested in taking for my first semester of college; I foolishly asked the rising senior sitting at our table, “Why do I have to write ten courses if I only take four?” High school me, who had honestly never heard the words “schedule conflict” before, was not prepared for the answer she was about to receive. The senior casually responded, “Oh well, that’s because usually the classes you want to take are full, or happen at the same time. Sometimes ten possibilities aren’t even enough, I would write more.” Naturally, I entered a state of utter panic. Where was my high school advisor to pick out all of my classes for me and organize them in a schedule that fit my exact needs and desires? If it wasn’t for what happened next, you would think that I would look back on this moment negatively, hoping never to feel this nervous again. However, a miracle struck: I looked up from my daunting course book and endless list of courses to find an equally anxious girl sitting across from me, Kate, shaking her head and flipping through the pages of her coursebook. I decided to introduce myself and asked “Are you as stressed out as I am?”

My inquiry led to a long conversation between the two of us about our fears regarding our transitions to college. I was then called into my advising appointment. I felt this inexplicable need to be Kate’s friend, and honestly couldn’t bring myself to leave our table. I enjoyed talking to her so much that I, like a certified stalker, waited twenty additional minutes for her meeting to be over so I could continue to hang out with her. After her appointment was over, we decided to grab coffee, and thus a beautiful friendship was born.

Kate and I continued to talk on and off throughout the summer, usually in texts sharing new foods we had discovered that we must find in Ann Arbor or comparing our outfits for sorority rush. When I told my friend, a current upperclassman at Michigan, about my new friend from orientation she responded, “Oh that’s nice, but I honestly don’t talk to anyone I met at orientation.” I kept this in mind, but again, for reasons I could not tell you, did not believe her.

When I arrived to school on move in day, I immediately received a text from Kate saying, “When are we going to meet up?” Overwhelmed, parentless, and stuck on the isolated death-zone that is North Campus, I was relieved and excited to see her. After a lovely night of dinner and frat-hopping, we agreed to spend welcome week together. Throughout the week, I started to notice something strange. Kate and I not only laughed at all of the same things, but we had these unspoken yet incredible similarities. We always wanted to go to the same parties, were ready to leave at the same time, and always got ravenously hungry for exactly the same snack at the same moment. We just always seemed to be on the same page.

On the final day of welcome week, we searched for our classes together and Kate asked a friendship defining question: “So do you know if there are acai bowls and a spray tan place nearby?” Not only am I extremely passionate about acai bowls, but being pale is one of my worst nightmares. In fact, I had been searching tanning places and felt sad that I would now have to spray alone. We then proceeded to go to Amer’s on State Street and eat acai bowls as we decided on a spray tan place to book our monthly memberships.

Our friendship only continued to grow. I was named the honorary triplet in her room, as I stayed overnight every Friday night before game day on my personal air mattress. Although we always went to tailgates in a group of people, we began to notice a recurring theme: we always ended up together. We did not try to ditch our other friends, it just always happened. We enjoy bopping around to different tailgates and getting food before the game by ourselves without dealing with others who have different agendas for their days. I mean, how could you not stick with someone who always wants to go where you want to go?

Kate and I continued to spend essentially every waking moment together. With every weekly trip to Amer’s and Tan 360, daily feast at the South Quad dining hall with copious amounts of hummus (which we are both insanely and equally passionate about), or struggle through Econ problem sets  (obviously we are in the same lecture and discussion), we happily stuck together. We also continued to realize our developing similarities. Not only did we adapt identical eating and sleeping schedules, but we adopted one another’s mannerisms and phrases. Thus, any rare difference we had each previously possessed was washed away as we simply blended into a singular personality. For example, my roommate — upon meeting Kate on a separate occasion — came back to our room and said, “Oh my god Devin she is actually you, it’s frightening.” She even tagged us in this Facebook post:

We are so alike that we call ourselves twins.

As the rush began, we were excited to start the process together. After first sets, we liked the same houses and put similar choices on our forms. We continued to have similar houses on our lists purely by chance, and although we had completely separate processes, had the same three houses for preference rounds. We were ecstatic at the prospect of being in the same chapter and excitedly ranked the same house first after preference parties. After Kate received the good news that she was accepted into our first choice house, I anxiously and excitedly awaited my bid. However, tragedy struck: I got my second choice house and was utterly devastated. Being in different houses posed a threat to our friendship: we would have different mixers and tailgates, and would inevitably have different friend groups. However, our friendship proved strong enough to prevail. We made sure to make plans for lunch every week, and even found that going to each other’s mixers and tailgates was more fun, as we could introduce each other to our new sisters and still stick together.

Kate even came home with me for fall break.

We also paid a visit to friends at Boston College.

So, while it is true that it is unusual to meet your best friend during orientation, make sure to keep an open mind. I truly enjoy when someone asks me and Kate, “How did you guys meet? Are you from the same hometown?” and we happily respond, “No, we met at orientation.” While this article is actually a bit obsessive and over the top, there is one serious takeaway: I am so thankful to have met someone who is so much like myself, and while I would have found my way, I can’t imagine how my first semester would have gone without Kate. I’m glad I didn’t trust my friend who told me that orientation friends never last, because you never know when or where you’ll meet your best friend.


Images courtesy of Google, Her Campus, Expedia, Integrated Design Solutions.

Devin Ablow

U Mich '20

Devin is a feature editor for the University of Michigan chapter of Her Campus. She is a junior studying English and Psychology, and hopes to eventually become a child psychologist. Follow her on instagram, devin_ablow, go blue! 
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