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Tackle hugs

Nicole Toczauer | Monday, February 21, 2011

Walking around campus, you see people huddled in groups, scurrying from building to building.

You see couples holding hands and friends sharing earbuds, jamming out to music. You hear shouts and screams and laughter between friends.

I’m always fascinated by how we can create bonds like this.

We show up freshman year with no relationship to anyone and by the time second semester rolls around, we each have a network of individuals we relate to.

From the best friend to the study buddy to that person you always run into in the dining hall, each relationship has its own set of rules, inside jokes and unsaid realizations.

Now, humor me with a blast from the not-so-distant past.

Rewind to August, press pause and observe:

I’m in Reckers watching a girl tackle a guy with a hug. I see friends hugging. They’re back on their turf, ready for a new year. I think to myself, “Will I have something like that next year?”

Fast forward to meeting my roommates:

We’ve gone through general “Where are you from?” questions and such. Now what?

Fast forward a bit more to the first snowfall:

We’re running through frozen Stonehenge, across North’s tundra and into a completely manic state of happiness. We get back, pump up the music, and prep for whatever crazy adventure we’ll have next.

Somehow from that first meeting, these three girls have become some of my closest friends ever.

Our walls are littered with posters we’ve snagged off walls, a bear from the Huddle (it holds crackers) named Carlos and orange streamers strung from the ceiling. We’re an insane, wonderful little family.

Across campus, I’ve met people and then have found out that their roommate is a pretty cool person. Later I realize that actually, their entire dorm is amazing. It becomes a third home to me (after California and Farley of course!)

There are people I can’t even remember originally talking to, but have somehow formed a link with. At North Dining Hall, I always say hi to one of the workers, Paul. We talk about our weeks; I ask about his walks and he says he’ll pray for my studies.

How does this happen? When “hello” become “let’s hang out?” When does hanging out forge a relationship so close that nothing needs to be said? Where you can silently communicate complex conversations in a single second?

I don’t know. Maybe it begins with a smile, survival of a comedically horrific experience or a quiet moment of appreciation. It could be anything.

But it’s comforting to know that we can revert to a little kid state, that simple perspective where everyone is a possible friend.

I’m just thankful that fate, God or pure chance has introduced me to so many wonderful people. I know that next year, I’ll be one of those people in Reckers attacking their friends with hugs.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Nicole Toczauer at ntoczaue@nd.edu