While I’m not a graduating senior, I can only imagine the bittersweet moments of walking the stage. On one hand, you’re “free” from school and chapel credits, bean food and curfew, but on the other, you’re leaving a home behind.
I’ve recognized that the last week of school is perfect for boomerangs of friends hugging or hand-holding with the caption, “please don’t leave me!” It’s the time when last-minute plans are made to have a final breakfast at Hickory Street Cafe, or the “I’ll miss you” conversations over coffee at Monks. And, as romantic of an idea as it is to seek out an hour to lump together all of the moments that made the relationship so rich, I urge those leaving to remember the moments that weren’t for Instagram.
I don’t quite remember when or where I met Jessica Clark. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have the most sentimental story of friendship. We weren’t roommates, we aren’t in club together, we didn’t sit next to each other in Comm Law and bond over the complaints of how ridiculous it is for a class to be so hard. It just kinda came about.
While Jessica Clark and I have never hung out outside the walls of the infamous Don Morris building, she is one of the most valuable friends I will ever have. She listened to me as I angrily ranted in the newsroom about coworkers and professors and anything you could possibly think of. She met my ridiculous hyperboles with sarcastic tweets and laughed at all of the nonsense I spilled so often.
Anyone who knows Jess knows that her spirit is always present. Her kindness is unconditional, and no problem stands a chance against her ability to console. But none of these qualities translate through a two-dimensional, shallow screen.
It took spending restless nights in the newsroom, talking to Jess, to know her heart, and for her to know mine. I didn’t savor her last moments by taking her to a poorly-planned dinner, we celebrated her success through laughing after our 8 a.m. when I actually showed up, and when she’d listen to my non-stop call for advice.
To the friendships that don’t find their way to social media, to the people that don’t seek friendship affirmation through posted photographs and boomerangs, I hope the materially undocumented moments are looked upon as you reminisce years down the road. To the friends like Jess, who are completely satisfied with personal interaction and exchanges, thank you.
And to Jess, I hate that it took so long for us to become friends. If I had known two years ago how much our relationship would grow, maybe I would have said “hello” a little bit sooner. You forever set the standard for the types of people I want to be surrounded by. I am grateful for you, always.