By Miguel Gonzalez
My friends were grinning and laughing. The speaker was bumping every Halloween classic you could think to play. Hilarious anecdotes were brought up left and right after playing numerous games and icebreakers.
I was dressed up in a warm panda onesie while my friends flashed one photo after another. We were all leaving our busy lives aside for Halloween night, except, I was not living in their fun moment.
Instead, I found myself glued to my friend’s TV watching game six of the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. Throughout the night, I didn’t bother to talk with my friends much. I just waited for the clock to hit the single digits. With every burst of laughter and joy, I leaned my head down to conceal my sadness.
As I grew more frustrated with myself, I didn’t wait any longer. I put on my beanie and walked out the door. I shut the door despite my friend offering an Uber ride.
The second my feet hit the concrete, my cheeks turned bright red as tears streamed through the nose pads of my glasses and reached toward my chin.
I didn’t care if I was wandering through the streets on my own. I didn’t care if my stomach was growling. I didn’t care if I made my friends worry about me. I just felt defeated in an empty pursuit of happiness. Despite getting decent grades and planning out a future career in journalism, I began to realize how many missed opportunities I’ve had at building friendships in my past three years at the College.
It’s more than knowing their name or being in the same class, major, club or team. It’s more than sharing a selfie at Homecoming and adding a caption on Instagram.
Friendship goes beyond sharing a similar background, ethnicity, struggle, dream or goal. It’s being able to open up to your true self and developing an everlasting bond. No compromises, no conformity, no faking it, no mask to hide your face full of fears, ambitions, dreams, weaknesses and emotions.
When you have a friend, you’re not afraid to talk about a family problem back home, a struggle to get club members on the same page or even asking out that cute guy or girl you saw the other day. You begin to cherish every lively conversation, every thrilling memory and every inside joke that makes you spill your coffee on your way to class.
When you have a friend, you’re never alone. You got your squad, crew, amigos, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, editors (in my case) and a pride of Lions at your back. There’s no telling what your future will be, but you know it doesn’t seem so daunting when you have someone there with you every step of the way.
The next morning, I saw one of my friends post a photo of us in our adorable costumes. I totally forgot how happy I was in that moment. A moment when midterms and career aspirations weren’t a priority. A moment that captured joy and harmony. A moment to recall at a reunion in the future. A moment I realized where I would’ve been now without my Signal crew.
I’m in my third year here at the College, but I still have a lot to learn about friendship. I can definitely start off by apologizing to my friends for making them worried on Halloween night. In the meantime, don’t ever be afraid to reach out to your friends because they care about you as much as you care about them.
Life’s a bitch and she’ll relentlessly fire every obstacle at you, but she can be one incredible rollercoaster when you have friends to hold on to for the ride.