Consider the following images carefully.
I’m not the sort of person who frequently takes pictures, which truthfully should’ve been the sort of thing that got me filtered out of the internship hiring process.
However, we find ourselves here, as we often do. The first picture is from my freshman year, when my hair was long (less visible in this picture, but before the end of the year I’ll throw in a hippie-hair Ben pic. Or you can look in the 2016-2017 Bonhomie). The second picture was from a few nights ago, when we had a small improv shindig and invited several improv’ers who had graduated to come back and perform with us again. Elise made it her mission to undercut any pretense of me being a subtle photographer, as you can see.
The other day I heard someone say they’re a firm believer in “seven years of friendship”. At first, I thought that was a highly revisionist, G-rated remake of that Oscar-winning movie a few years back. However I quickly realized what they meant was the idea that, as a freshman, you’re friends with seniors, and as a senior, you’re friends with freshmen.
I had never really thought of it in those terms before. Truthfully, I think putting a name on it is a bit silly, but the idea is solid. One of the most interesting parts of college is that you catch everyone at crossroads in their lives. Some are graduating, some are moving in. I’m giving tours to high schoolers in-between library thesis-writing sessions. I’ve seen friends join and leave Greek organizations, gotten to connect with graduates across the world, met the kids of people who came here twenty years ago. On the micro scale, people are at a crossroads as well – I think saying “college is where you go to find yourself” is a bit incorrect, because, aside from Taylor Swift, no one has it figured out at 22, but I think it’s fair to say college is where you go to get really, really lost.
The thing about crossroads is that you can’t stay at them forever, although taking a victory lap around the crossroads is an increasingly tempting option. In a more metaphorical sense, though, you can’t – sooner or later, you leave, and that’s okay, because you’re still someone that someone else will think of happily when their turn to mosey up to the fork in the road comes along. Or someone who gets to come back to the crossroads and do improv for just a little bit. Getting to see friends who have graduated come back together is a fun cross-section of life – one’s getting married, one’s deploying, one’s working and living and thriving. There are all sorts of places to wind up at after you take a few turns in the road. And Furman is a pretty fun place to be lost at for a few years.