Friends to visit in 79 places around the world

Alexis White, Nina Cong, Anastasia Dalianis, Anum Shafqat, Hannah Schoenbaum, and Alexandra Chaidez pose at a sculpture in Millenium Park. Photo by Alexis White.

Clockwise from top left: Alexis White, Nina Cong, Anastasia Dalianis, Anum Shafqat, Hannah Schoenbaum and Alexandra Chaidez pose at a sculpture in Millennium Park. Photo by Alexis White.

Every morning before I left East Fairchild to go to breakfast, I texted my friend to make sure she was going too. From the first day of the program, she always texted me back. Sometimes it was “Leaving now,” sometimes “15 minutes,” or sometimes “I’m going to Peet’s.”

I didn’t text her because I was worried about not having someone to sit with. I texted her because we both woke up earlier than everyone else and I didn’t want to be the only one at 1835 Hinman. Nora was my first friend at cherubs. She gave me and two other girls a tour of campus on the first day. Together, we worried over what our first assignment would be. During the fourth week, I sat on her floor and ate mac and cheese while trying to list her best qualities, which I hoped would help her with her resume assignment.

As I moved through the first week and continued to hang out with the same people, I remembered what program director Roger Boye had said on the first day. I can’t remember his exact words, but it was something along the lines of, “Talk to everyone, because you’ll have 79 places to stay all over the world.” So I did this. I learned things I never would have expected to based on my first impressions of the other cherubs.

During the first week, I met Katie Ho, who offered me a green-tea mint before she even knew my name. Later, I met Jackie Sussman, who shockingly shared my obsessive love of ballet. We sat in the common room and freaked out over a video of Svetlana Zakharova in Swan Lake. I gave toothpaste to Gina Kim on the first night, but it wasn’t until the third week that I talked to her and learned that she, like me, listened to classical music. She was the first person I had met outside of music camp who loved it as much as I did. Sydney Green introduced me to Korean dramas, which I proceeded to watch for the entire fourth week.

These are only a few of the people with whom I became friends. I knew it was unrealistic to form friendships with everyone during the first week, but I promised myself I would talk to as many people as I could. It didn’t seem like there could be that many people in a group of 80 who shared my obscure interests, but the friends I met proved otherwise.

I have a few regrets from cherubs. I regret not doing a week of Show Off in which I could have tried video. I regret being too nervous during my interviews to actually ask my sources hard questions. But one thing I don’t regret is getting to know 79 people instead of just five.