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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
The Observer


We beat the odds, Becca

I met my best friend in my seventh grade math class. The new kid in a new middle school, my only goal for the day was to make a friend. So I looked to the girl to my right and said, “Hi! My name’s Aynslee, what’s yours?” 

I don’t need to bore anyone with any of the embarrassing details, but after weeks of convincing and a science class project later, we exchanged numbers and never looked back. 

Nearly seven years later, I sit with her on the phone for hours at a time, discussing anything under the sun from childhood trauma to what we’ve treated ourselves to this week. As I walk in circles around my dorm room, I tell her every minute of my weekend, and afterwards she tells me hers. It’s become a routine at this point, a result of now living four hours away. 

If I were to ask myself on the first day of seventh grade if I thought I’d be best friends with her for as long as I have, I honestly don’t know what I would say. My younger self would have never let her hopes of finding a best friend reach such heights, to believe I found someone that would put up with me for as long as she has. 

I miss her every day. I knew that I would the day we decided we’d be attending different colleges. As we sat in a cluttered practice room in the corner of the performing arts wing, the dreaded day many high school seniors faced came to fruition: life will never be the same. And neither of us had anything to say to each other. 

What do you say, when “your person” has confirmed the fears of every high school friendship? We allowed our dreams of becoming roommates, attending parties and taking classes together become more of a delusion than possibility as we dedicated the next four years to higher education, four hours apart. Neither one of us were to budge; she was Hoosier-bound, and I was to become a Belle. 

Silent tears ran down both of our cheeks in that glorified broom closet as we resolved to stay friends after high school. I couldn’t even imagine it at the time, spending four years apart from someone I hadn’t spent longer than a week away from for six years. I remember having heard that staying connected with your friends from high school is nearly impossible, as oftentimes people move onto the next steps of their life. However, we beat the odds. My best friend of six years will soon become my best friend of seven, and it’s like we never missed a beat. 

I’d never call myself wise or someone with any profound answers, but as we come closer to the end of the school year, I’d like to share how we did it, how we stayed friends through arguably the hardest year of college. 

Honestly, it was the little things. Such a cliché phrase, yet it sums up the best way to keep any type of relationship alive. It could be sending a quick Instagram reel or a text message about some new coffee order to try, but it’s the principle of letting the other know we’re thinking of them that matters most. 

We started our freshman year of college promising to call at least three times a week. That didn’t last past October, as hard of an effort as we made. But we do call at least once a week, and that has made all the difference. Though a smaller amount of effort, the urgency to hear from one another was more powerful as it became less of a goal to achieve and more of a time to look forward to. For us, less structure means more opportunities for spontaneous tea sessions and tagging along virtually on side quests to the store, which in my opinion, will always be more valuable than a time slot.

You can’t blame each other for being busy. With her involvement in her exercise science major, her church, and her newfound friend group, her life was often too busy for time with me. And my involvement with my campus jobs and Transpose as well as my responsibilities as a newly-minted news editor make me unreachable at times. We both recognize that neither of us are at fault for being too busy, rather we celebrate one another’s interests and new chapters. I’m so proud of my best friend in everything she has accomplished thus far, and there’s never been a doubt in my mind she’s proud of me too. 

Coming home is a big deal, and we make it so. We are fortunate enough to attend college within our home state, making it easier for the both of us to come home for breaks or the occasional weekend. Every time we get the chance to see each other face-to-face becomes the “final count-down” and the highlight of the week. More often than not, she’s back in town before I am, to which I always make a point to stop at her house for a quick reunion celebration in her driveway. We make sure to plan things together while we’re home as well, which could range from her staying at my house for the majority of spring break to getting a coffee together before heading back to college. 

Finally, we allow the distance between us to help us grow closer together. Kind of a paradox, I’m aware. But the distance from each other became an opportunity to grow as individuals and recognize how incredibly special we are to each other. Throughout everything we’ve experienced (and survived) together, I’ve realized since it was when we bounced back from the hardship and the turmoil that we became closer than before. This is exactly what the distance has become for us, another obstacle to overcome. 

I hope that you have someone in your life who means just as much as my best friend means to me, who loves you unconditionally and supports you without hesitation. Give them a call, if you do. And if you don’t, there’s time yet to find them. Put yourself out there, believe that this person is out there waiting to find you too. And don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the girl sitting next to you in math class. 

You can contact Aynslee at 

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