We did not plan to write this together, but of course, here we are. Weeks before graduation, Jessica sat staring at a blank Microsoft Word document and asked Andrea for ideas. Our conversation concluded with a decision to write this reflection the same way we do everything: together.
Incoming college students often hear that the friendships they build in their first year may not last throughout college. Entering freshman year, I figured I would come to count myself among those exceptions; naturally, I was in for a rude awakening.
I met Jessica sophomore year, and she was the first person with whom I truly felt I would stay friends beyond graduation. The newness of college had worn off: I had stopped seeing each new encounter as a chance to make a close friend — a cause and consequence, perhaps, of the sophomore slump. But shedding the burden of expectations also opened the door to more genuine and vulnerable friendships, the first of which I found in my relationship with Jessica.
Sleep deprivation, uncertainty and a lack of motivation characterized my sophomore fall. I looked for excitement in late nights out with friends, high test scores and 5:30 a.m. trips to Yates Field House. On Fridays, I arrived at Dolcezza, my favorite Wisconsin Avenue coffee shop, after seven exhausted days spent failing to find the fulfillment I craved. I relaxed my shoulders, threw my hair in a ponytail and just talked with Andrea. We talked about everything that didn’t have to do with Georgetown — how do you decaffeinate a coffee bean? Do you believe in the afterlife? For the first time, I shared feelings, ideas and fears as they came to mind, whether or not they sounded good or smart or polished.
Amid endless work and uncertainty about my future, I stayed somewhat sane by ending each week walking with Jessica to Dolcezza, where we met Eddie, a senior who mentored both of us. Every week, I was grateful for the opportunity to share moments of introspection. I remember feeling nervous the day Jessica and I decided to spend a Friday afternoon together without Eddie, but the pace of our conversation didn’t miss a beat. I left that afternoon certain of one thing: a solid friendship in the making.
Jessica and I have a friendship of little things and in-betweens. After sophomore year, we lived together for a semester. Our friendship strengthened through evenings on the couch, common classes and even a jaunt to the emergency room when Jessica developed a strange rash during finals our junior year; by that point, few things could faze our friendship.
Although to an outsider this event would have seemed insignificant, that first Dolcezza coffee gave rise to the best of friendships.
Andrea is the most interested person I have ever known. In our sophomore coffee dates and every conversation since, Andrea has listened to each story I’ve told her as if it were the most important one she had ever heard.
Our conversations count among my favorite memories at Georgetown. The evenings at The Tombs blend into one long night in my memory, but I can still hear Andrea laughing at the retelling of my nights over breakfast the next morning. The days I finished my first marathon, received my most heartbreaking rejection letter, submitted my thesis: all blurs. Yet the moments of clarity processing each of them with Andrea in the days that followed continue to pierce my memory.
The things I won’t forget about Georgetown are the things I never expected to remember. How could I have predicted that conversations over coffee, evenings on our stoop or walks with no particular destination would hold my happiest, bravest, proudest and most humbling memories? After all, the events themselves are unmemorable, even unimportant. But it is on these otherwise insignificant moments that I built the strongest friendship I have ever known.
Andrea & Jessica:
Writing from our own perspectives, we reached the same conclusion. We came to Georgetown for the big things, the gold stars — flashy internships, celebrity professors and remarkable achievements — that in time we often found fell short of our colossal expectations. We threw ourselves so energetically into Georgetown’s constant churning in pursuit of remembering and being remembered. Once in a while we caught one of these coveted gold stars and the excitement it brings.
But now, minutes, or weeks, or semesters later, we come down at last. We sit sober on Healy Lawn staring into the dark sky of a Saturday night, cherishing the memories of the little things and the in-betweens and the friendships that emerged from them.
Jessica Hickle and Andrea Moneton are seniors in the School of Foreign Service.