“GUYS GUYS GUYS”
“ANGIE IS COMING!!!!”
“YOU ALL HAVE TO MEET HER!!!!”
I grin at my phone as the replies to my enthusiastic texts pour in. None of my friends from Yale have met Angie, but they know her through stories from high school and my hometown, so they’re almost as excited as I am to see her. I’ve been talking about her visit for weeks, and the mere thought of it has gotten me through countless midterms and papers.
The second I see her face at the top of the escalator at Union Station, I’m sprinting towards her and throwing my arms around her. Our exuberant screams echo throughout the station and attract several stares before we finally let go of each other. She’s crying, I’m crying and all I seem capable of saying is “I missed you” over and over again. Eventually, we get ourselves together and I walk her back to my dorm on the fourth floor of Vanderbilt Hall on Old Campus.
Angie and I were always together in high school — we had the same exact classes, were in similar clubs and even worked at the same froyo store after school. Going off to college meant going from seeing each other 24/7 to being states away. As excited as we were for our respective college experiences, we missed each other a lot. Before we left for our first years, we made a pact to take turns visiting each other once every semester. And thank goodness we did — I think I’d be ill with Angie-less-ness if we hadn’t.
When she’s not masquerading as a bulldog, Angie is a sophomore at Penn. Last fall, I went to visit her for Penn’s homecoming football game against Yale, where we, unfortunately, lost to the Quakers (or Oats, as I like to call them, because Penn… Quakers… Quaker oatmeal… laugh, it’s funny). I was therefore determined to show her the best time and redeem Yale’s reputation when she came to visit last spring.
All of the places we went and people I introduced her to must’ve worked, because she had “the best time” (direct quote!) and missed Yale so much that she’s coming back in two weeks to spend her entire fall break here. For this reason, I think I’m uniquely qualified to write a definitive guide on what to do with your friends from home when they visit:
- Show them the landmarks. If you don’t take your friends to Sterling or pop into the Beinecke, you’re doing it wrong. Since we spend every day here, we often forget how incredible our campus can be. Let your home friends act like a tourist, and let yourself act like one, too.
- Show them the other landmarks. I’m not talking about the pretty cliche ones. Show them the bench you cried on your first week or the dorm window of that girl from your seminar that you thought was super cool but turned out to be a bitch. Show them what it’s like to rot in Bass at 1 a.m. Show them TD.
- Take them to the dining hall. Everyone has seen the TikToks about Yale food, so everyone who visits is going to want to try it. For Angie, it did live up to the hype (aside from brunch). Have your friends really visited if they haven’t had a waffle with a “Y” on it? I think not.
- Make sure they’re comfortable. Yale couches are pretty comfy by themselves, but make sure you have the essential bedding supplies to ensure that they get the best night’s sleep in between your undoubtedly eventful days. I recommend providing them with a blanket, pillow and stuffed animal for maximum comfort.
- Show them what Yale life is really like. What Angie told me she liked the most while she was here was that she got a clear idea of what my day-to-day life was like — the good, the bad and the ugly. I took her to friends’ shows and to meetings, to boring and interesting lectures alike (shout out Daily Themes, she loved you). Hell, I even took her to the roof of the Fence house for a rehearsal (shout out “Godspell,” she loved you even more). Angie got to walk through college life right by my side for a few days, which was the most full-circle experience I could ask for. We knew exactly what each other’s lives were like back in Catasauqua, and it was so cool to be able to give her a window into my new life here.
- Introduce them to the characters. Before she even stepped foot on campus, Angie had a list of people that she had to meet, with names ranging from those of my closest friends to those that I had just one really funny story about. To her, they were all characters in the story of my life, set in a very new, very different world from the one we grew up in. And because I have great taste in friends, the people she met here were one of her favorite parts of the visit. The same was true in reverse: my college friends loved Angie so much that they frequently ask me when she’s coming back to visit. Seeing the most special people in my life get to know each other was so, so surreal. Introduce your home friends to as many people as you can. You can even just point out characters on the street (ex: “see the guy in the blue hoodie? The one with the headphones? That’s the guy from Halloweekend BDs who kept hitting on me”). Either way, it’s fun to prove that all of the people you tell them about are, in fact, real.
- Take them out (at least once). “Your Sig Nu is so much… smaller,” Angie told me when we walked into their house on High Street, to which I replied, “at least they serve something other than Natty Light.” Take that, Oats.
- Set aside time to just be with them. Yeah yeah, seeing campus is great, but at the end of the day, your friends from home are visiting because they miss you. You’re the one they want to see the most. Visiting anywhere can be overwhelming, so make sure you have time to sit and debrief, or just catch up on everything that’s happened since you saw each other five months ago. Cherish every moment that you get to spend with your friends from home, because before you know it, their visit will be over and they’ll be gone.
Almost everyone that I know has their “best friend from back home.” I’m even luckier because I have an Angie. I wouldn’t trade the bond we share for the world.
I hope everyone gets the chance for their Angie to visit them at some point — not only because it’s fun, but because it lets you see your college world through their eyes. In turn, I hope you get to go visit your Angie at their OatU and learn all sorts of things about their new world.
As for me? I’m going to be counting down the days until 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 11, when Angie’s train will pull into Union Station and I’ll get to see her smiling face once more.