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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

Take a chance, make a friend

I like to think out loud. So, when I was brainstorming for this column, I said out loud, to myself “what should I write my column about?” to which my roommate jokingly replied “you should write it about me.” 

She was just kidding, but I think she’s an excellent topic to write about. 

She was what we like to call a pretty-much-random roommate. When I decided to study abroad in Rome, my friend told me she knew a girl who was also going and that she thought we would get along really well. So, without knowing who this person was really at all, I requested to live with her for my semester in Rome. 

I cannot overstate how wonderful this decision was for my study abroad experience and beyond. I have gotten to know someone I would have otherwise missed on campus at Notre Dame, someone who I know will be a lifelong friend to me. Honestly, the way we talk to each other you would think we knew each other since birth instead of since January. 

Just like freshman year at Notre Dame, I came to Rome trying to get used to a new city, a new school and a new roommate. And just like freshman year, it was facing all this newness together that allowed my roommate and I to become friends. 

Now we have standing dates on Thursday mornings to walk around Rome and see different churches. We travel together on the weekends and cook together on weekdays. She is a wonderful person to talk to, to spend time with and to pray with. I am forever grateful to have met her this semester. 

All this to say that it pays off to jump into new friendships blindly. For every horrible random roommate story there’s another beautiful friendship waiting around the corner. It has been incredibly freeing for me to be able to put my trust in someone like her, even though I haven’t known her for very long. It makes me think about all the people I might be missing out on being friends with because I am too scared to make that friendship “first move.” 

So like the nursery rhyme tells us, we need to “make new friends, but keep the old.” Even if you’re a little introverted like I am, try to let yourself be vulnerable to new people. There is so much joy to be found in sharing parts of yourself with others. Life is simply too short to do anything else. Try to get to know those people who you cross paths with often. Let them be more than acquaintances. I always say to my roommate now that it makes me sad I hadn’t met her sooner. When you think about it, there are so many people just waiting out there who could be your best friend. Throw your caution to the wind and talk to that person you always see eating at the same time as you in the dining hall. It could be something so spectacular that you're able to write a whole column about it.   

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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.