When I choose to attend Miami University, I had picked a school where I didn’t have a single friend nearby. Most of my close friends had selected University of Illinois, or had chosen to attend a school with at least one other friend in our “group” attending. Being alone made my first few months incredibly difficult. All of my high school friends were hanging out and going to fiestas with one another, and I felt like I was hanging with a group of relative strangers. For a while, I debated about transferring to University of Texas where I had a big group of friends attending, to the point that I even filled out the full application. While I still love the Longhorns, I’m SO glad that I never submitted that application and decided to stick out the first few, difficult months.
My parents made a rule that I was not allowed to leave school during breaks or weekends until Thanksgiving my first year, and they would not come to visit me. While this sounds incredibly harsh, it made all the difference… and I ended up falling in love with the school. Weekends and Fall Break allowed me to have extended time to spend with my corridor-mates, and they’ve become some of my closest friends today. (We all got together in Miami, FL earlier this year!)
My housemates from college… six of us were in the same corridor Freshman year
In second semester, when we would essentially not leave each other’s sides, each of the members of our little posse had a couple of friends visit to check out the school. My friend Sandra from across the hall invited two girls to visit and I especially bonded with her friend Kelly. Kelly had a crazy fun personality, got along with everyone like she was their best friend within a few seconds, and had an impeccable wardrobe (most important, obviously, when sharing clothes was a way of life.)
Sandra and Kelly during her visit to Miami
Kelly and I bonded fairly quickly…
After Kelly’s visit, we stayed in touch sporadically across the years, but I was floored when she recently sent this picture my way…
Yes, that’s right… that’s me with all the missing teeth and that’s Kelly with the crafty, beaded tee there on the right. Her mother had found this picture from a while back and Kelly, always on top of her stuff, recognized me.
After talking to our parents about it, we figured out that this picture was from a Kids Club at the Westin on Maui well over 20 years ago. We hadn’t seen each other since, in fact, I couldn’t have even told you that I hung out with a girl named Kelly in the Kids Club (I could, however, tell you that they had an awesome water slide.) But a couple of decades later, we could be seen together hanging out in my college dorm enjoying each other’s company like old friends.
I haven’t seen Kelly in close to a decade at this point, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned from this, it’s that our paths will likely cross again (in about 10 years or so.) Always be kind to strangers and those around you. You never know who you might see again.
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Do you have any crazy stories about people you’ve re-met many years later? Have you had any fun experiences where a relative stranger has become a friend?
P.S. For those going to college soon, or those with kids about to go to school… I HIGHLY recommend my parents rule (within reason, of course.) It is the reason I stayed and fell in love with Miami in those early years, catapulting my obsession with the school to what it is today. 🙂
Create a great life!