Friends from First Year On

Katie O’Connor – Physical Therapy Major, Psychology Minor, COS ’21

When I was accepted to Northeastern my senior year of high school, I was beyond excited for the college experience at Northeastern. The city of Boston, amazing academics, life changing global experiences, and of course, co-ops that could get me a leg up in my future career as a physical therapist… what was there NOT to be excited about? Until the nerves and anxiety of making friends started to creep in. I grew up in a small town in South Jersey where I had known everyone from kindergarten to my senior year of high school. Everyone knew everyone and friends came easily due to the compact nature of my hometown. What if my New Jersey accent and the way I say “water” (read: wudder) throws people off? What if I picked the wrong Living Learning Community (LLC)? The what ifs did not stop coming. 

I’ll be honest, they didn’t stop coming until move-in day. As I said goodbye to all my home friends who moved into college at the beginning August, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a group of friends that could compare. But luckily, my extremely talkative mom found a kindred spirit in the elevator of Stetson East: another extremely talkative mom. And don’t you know her daughter lived two doors down from me! I happened to be walking past this girl’s room as I heard her say “Well, my mom met one of our hallmate’s mom on the elevator… I think her name is Katie?”. Luckily, I had the guts to poke my head in and say “Hey, that’s me and that was my mom!” Despite the chaos of moving, I introduced myself to my down the hall neighbors, Jenna and Gwen, and we learned a lot about each other in that first conversation. That night, we decided to go to Labor Day celebrations at the Boston Harbor and managed to navigate the T on our first night as free first-years in the city of Boston.

Jenna, Gwen and I took advantage of all the Move-In Week opportunities Northeastern Residential Life offered us: free tours of Fenway Park, free Duck Tours, Northeastern trivia in the Freshmen Quad giving out free swag (have I said free enough..?), and many more. However, it was a white board poll of “Would you attend a pizza night with us? Text (insert number here) if yes!” that solidified our friend group. Jenna took the risk and texted this random girl’s number three yesses for pizza night. To this day, Maggie still has “Jenna from across the hall” as her contact name in Snapchat. 

To sum up an old, fifth year’s sentimental ramblings, these three are some of my closest friends at Northeastern to this day. We lived in Davenport A together our second year, spent a whole year apart due to co-ops in different states and global experiences, but ended up in West Village H together for our fourth year. I never could have imagined that my first year residence hall would have led to friendships I know I’ll maintain as an adult, but I am so thankful for it. Our flexibility in our friendship due to co-ops, global experiences, and rigorous academic schedules will lead to long lasting friendships. Without Northeastern and Stetson East, I would not be the person I am today.

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