College Love: My pandemic buddy became my lifelong friend

Early June, summer of 2019, Dana was put into my life on a sterling silver platter. I had never met any human like her. A smile more beautiful than any I’ve ever seen and a personality that radiates throughout this whole damn town. I had heard about her a few times before. I was told we would totally love each other, we would “for sure click,” “y’all are so alike.” Yada yada,  but I really didn’t truly know how much joy and fulfillment Dana would bring into my life. 

I was lucky enough to be subletting a room for the summer in a house where she also happened to be renting. Immediately once we started chatting it was obvious everyone was right. We were totally alike. I was in awe of her. This small person, who (at the time) could work a double, go to the bars all night, come home, cook a full meal that would most likely make her undiagnosed lactose intolerance be completely undeniable, go to sleep, and do it all again the next daybut in classic Dana manner, she really didn’t care, and I loved that. 

Everyone in the house got along, but I knew after we all moved out, Dana was someone I wanted to make sure to stay in touch with. That following school year, we stayed in touch, but due to our busy schedules and separate living situation, we didn’t see each other as much as we both hoped. The occasional dinner, night-out or small gathering is where we would see each other most often. 

The friendship did not really have the chance to flourish until we decided to take a girls’ trip for spring break to Colorado just her, myself, and our friend Willow. These girls love adventure, so I knew this trip was going to be amazing. We drank a ton of local beers, hiked numerous mountains, some of which were completely covered in snow, and ate the most amazing vegan food we could have possibly imagined. We even spontaneously decided to get matching tattoos, which we may or may not regret. We spent every minute of every day together, and not once was there a moment where I disliked any part of it. 

Once we got back from the trip, within days North Carolina went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus. Many of my friends decided to leave Wilmington to go home and finish out their semesters. Luckily, both Dana and I decided to stay. I went through a moment of sadness due to losing some of the people I was closest to… but was so happy I would still have someone to be my buddy while the world went haywire. We were living just a bike ride away so we were able to see each other all the time. She was the only person I felt comfortable spending time with and trusted that we were keeping each other safe. Dana had started to become my person in this town. Her lease was soon going to be up and she needed a place to live until she figured out her move after she graduated at the end of the summer. This completely shifted my mentality and helped bring me the boost of serotonin I needed. For the next few months, we had a ball. With not much to do out in the world, we tried to make fun out of any little task we could do. Whether it be learning to slackline, giving endless head massages, or cleaning out closets, there was never a dull moment. 

She has brought immense positivity, love, and SO much laughter to my life. We understand how one another sees the world, we value the same things in a person, and we’re able to share things with each other that we haven’t freely shared with others. She has stood by me in situations when others have not, she has made me feel loved and reassured in times I have needed it most, and brings perspective to situations where I am blindsided by my own opinions. There’s love within this relationship that feels impossible to find. We have come to this mutual understanding that the universe brought us together for some reason, and we are both committed to making sure our relationship continues to grow and to have new experiences with one another.  She got a seasonal job out in Montana a few months ago, and even though she is 1,920 miles away, we still talk at least once a day. We both have had plans to move to Europe post-college, and I somehow have convinced her to (tentatively) move to Amsterdam with me once I’m done with school. It sounds like a lofty goal, but in my gut, I know we are gonna do it. One could honestly call this a love story or even a love letter, either way, I hope it accurately depicts the impact she has had on me. 

And to Dana, if you’re reading this, I love you, I miss you, and I cannot wait until we are living our best lives galavanting throughout the world. 

Modeled after the New York Times’ Modern Love series, College Love is a column about all kinds of love stories—friendship, romance, flings, family, self-love and anything in between. Interested in telling your story with the help of our editors? Submit your love story at [email protected].