As many of you may know, the opening line of Friends theme song goes, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way…” And man, is that true for me in every conceivable way. Arriving at Stonehill for freshman orientation, I had no idea what my college career would gift me. Would I go out often? Would I like my classes? Would I even make any friends at all? It turns out, my freshman year here was one of my most memorable, and began with meeting two of my favorite people ever and my first college roommates, Ali and Jenny. They were the ones who introduced me to the famed sitcom Friends, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary of its concluding season this year. The show ran from 1994 to 2004. Now, I’ve watched all 10 seasons more times than I can remember, buying the whole set of seasons after falling in love with Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross during my first year at Stonehill.
So in many ways, this throwback of mine to Friends ending in 2004 is a throwback to my time at Stonehill.
I quote Friends on a daily basis and in any possible situation (“Hey, how you doing”). The sheer number of times I’ve watched Friends ensures my constant quoting. When I finally got a Tumblr, Friends-themed blogs were among the first I followed, enamored by how the screenshots and gif sets captured the hilariousness of the sitcom. I identify with Joey’s love for sandwiches and sweet-hearted nature, Monica’s obsession with cleanliness, Chandeler’s dry sense of humor, Ross’ love for the academic life, Rachel’s shopping addiction, and Phoebe’s wonderfully odd and spazzy personality. The group of six has become, and always will be, a part of me.
Watching Friends with Jenny and Ali eased me into college life, especially dorm living and my unease in familiarizing myself with Stonehill. No matter how stressed I was from my new intro GEN Lit class, or how anxious I was about a new club meeting the next day, I knew I was guaranteed a cathartic bonding session with my two new roommates, and best friends, and the comforting routine of a new and addicting TV show.
I miss freshman year: I loved (almost) every minute of it, throwing myself into new and exciting experience like with the English Society, Creative Writing Club, the Cairn, and of course the Rolling Stonehill! When it comes to college, I made the most of my time, defying stressful classes and awkward mixers to discover who my real friends are. I miss the uncertainty of that year, the naiveté I possessed. I found comfort in the not knowing what the next four years would bring. But now, as a second-semester senior, everything (except my after-graduation plans) is set in stone. I do have regrets, which is inevitable. But overall I am very satisfied with all I accomplished in the academic, extracurricular, creative, and social fields.
One of my most memorable experiences was my semester abroad in Galway, Ireland. I learned how to develop my confidence, navigate European cities with minial reliance on maps, and I even learned how to cook for myself, which was a bit…touch and go (“I wasn’t supposed to put beef in the trifle…!”). The Silent Discos at the Róisín Dubh, especially, were phenomenal (though “Smelly Cat” never featured in the DJ playlist). I miss who I was when I was abroad, and more than that, I miss Galway City and the friends I left behind on all parts of the globe.
The poster that sits above my dorm bed reads, “Everything I know in Life I Learned from Friends.” Some of the bullet points that follow say “You can do a lot with just cups and ice,” and “Everyone has an identical hand twin.” In addition to these comedic sentiments, I learned some deeper lessons from the show, too. Friends taught me to never judge anything at first glance, and to try as many new books, activities, and hobbies as possible. Most of all, I learned to enjoy and appreciate the “little things” in life. You never know how a person, a play, or, yes, even a TV show can impact you in such a significant way.