My high school friend group was tight.
Weekends for us meant spending significant time together going on ridiculous escapades. We went to every Friday night football game together, danced like maniacs at our homecomings and proms, spent our study halls getting distracted by random YouTube videos and memes, and ran cross country together after school. We went to movies, other states, restaurants, concerts and shows. We spent countless hours in each other’s basements, sometimes watching movies, but mostly just making each other laugh and eating lots of Doritos until we all fell asleep at three in the morning. I was the best, genuine version of myself around them; I was fully and completely known by them, and I knew everything about them.
Transitioning into college was painless, except for one part: I was used to having a large group of close friends, and it was difficult to come to a place where I barely knew anyone and restart the process of making friends.
A lot of things have happened in my social life in the two years I’ve spent at Northwestern. First, I’ve made a lot of new friends (It’s true mom! I do have friends!). With so many friendly people on campus, I can start conversations with basically anyone. It’s not hard to make friends. They can be casual friends, like the people I have class with and say “hi” to around campus. Or the people who live in the same dorm as me and I stop in their room periodically to eat cereal on their couch. Or the friends I eat meals with (having long conversations over a nice burrito is very underrated). As a resident assistant, I also have my residents and the other staff members as friends.
Then I have my best friends. We are authentic with each other; they know my heart and mind and I know theirs. We are intentional with each other—especially in each other’s spiritual lives. We go on crazy adventures together, but we also really love each other and help each other become better versions of ourselves. I can be super weird around them—which is me 98 percent of the time—and they can do the same.
I’ve met some of my best friends at Northwestern. My high school friends will still be some of my lifelong friends, but so will my friends at Northwestern. I cherish my memories with my high school friends, but have also made many new, wonderful memories with my college friends. Like the afternoon when we baked six loaves of homemade bread while dancing in the kitchen to *NSYNC. That night we laid underneath the stars in our pajamas and talked about what amazes us in life. When I woke one of my friends up at 1 a.m. because I just NEEDED to eat ice cream with her (she was mad but got over it). Spending Sundays worshipping and praying together at P&W. Talking about life for a couple of hours on my couch. Those hours we have spent driving in a car just to go see our favorite artists perform. Or all the time we have spent chilling in hammocks to listen to music and be outside for two hours. The nights we’ve had teeth-brushing dance parties in the bathroom.
Living on a small campus means it’s simple to meet people. The dorms make it easy to surround myself with others and be in relationships with them as we navigate life together. Northwestern is a place where I’ve met some of my best friends, where favorite memories have taken place, and where I’ve further learned about being in relationships with people. Thanks to attending Northwestern, I met these people and get to experience all these moments with them— it’s a place where I’ve gotten to know other people, and where they have gotten to know me.
Originally from Ames, Iowa, Lizzy Johnston is a junior who enjoys studying public relations and literature at Northwestern. She is a resident assistant in Fern Smith to some spirited girls, a staff writer for the Beacon, and a member of the Honors Program. In her free time, she enjoys running long distances, eating ice cream, hammocking, making her friends spend time with her, and keeping up with national and world news and issues. She is also a huge movie nerd. Her life goal is to work in public relations for the Academy Awards or be a talk show host so she can get paid to talk to movie stars and geek out over movies.