People always say that in college you find out who your real friends are. They also say not to be surprised if your fall quarter friends from freshman year are not the ones you stick with. In a lot of ways, this can be great. Growing up and finding your people is important. But for me, my people have been with me since the first day of Wildcat Welcome.

Starting college is crazy and tiring and wonderful and awkward, but anyone who knows me has heard me say that Northwestern made the beginning of college the absolute best time of my life. Even an independent, eager freshman like me could appreciate the fact that I had my peer advisor to hold my hand through navigating campus, scheduling classes and figuring out where to eat. In that first week, my peer advising group learned the ropes of Northwestern together while also learning about the truly awesome people who surrounded us.

Since Wildcat Welcome I have been lucky enough to call my peer advising (more commonly referred to as ‘PA’) group my best friends, my support system, and my family. They encourage me to try new things even when I think I fail, which led me to some of the greatest experiences of my life. If it weren’t for them, I would have never been in an acapella group, applied to go to London in my freshman year or auditioned for the coolest dance and percussive groups on campus (check out Boomshaka…I’m not kidding.)

Most importantly, I am constantly in awe of the people they have become. We have watched each other grow from nervous freshmen into confident and involved Wildcats. Whether we’re all sitting in “Pop Culture” class doing our project on celebrity babies together or coming out to support Elle and Dani in a dance show or Bryan and Liz at their philanthropy events, I feel lucky to be with such inspiring people who I have grown to love so much. They have shown me the kind of strong, passionate person I hope to become and have helped me in becoming that person every step of the way. I cannot thank them enough for understanding me when I’m stressed about classes, getting Taco Bell with me after a long day, or getting me out of bed on a Saturday night when I’m “being low energy.”

When I tell people that my best friends are in my PA group, they are always surprised. But my advice to anyone coming into NU would be this: cherish your PA group. They will be with you at the beginning of your journey and if you’re lucky enough, you can keep them until the end.

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