April 21, 2023 | FEATURS | By Alexis Cornachio

Colorado College senior Grace Tumavicus has lived with the same four friends since freshman year. The friend group of five met when they shared a hall in South Hall. During the COVID-19 pandemic in their sophomore year, the five of them crammed into a two-bedroom Airbnb off an alleyway on Wasatch Street. Junior year they moved into the Blanca Apartments on campus, and now they are living in a blue house off Uintah Street, right next to where I live.

As the weather gets warmer, I get to watch the group collect on couches outside in their backyard. In addition to the five that live in the house off Uintah, there is a consistent rotation of the same friends coming in and out through our shared driveway we call the “dirt pit.”

Tumavicus and a couple other seniors describe their friendships that they have made here at CC, and how they anticipate transitioning these relationships into their post-grad lives.

The friendships Tumavicus has made at CC are unique to any relationship made in other areas of her life. The “no privacy, no boundaries” living situation that the group endured their sophomore year fostered an environment for some intense bonding.

“During the college phase of life, I feel like a lot happens,” said Tumavicus, who reflected on the internal and external growth that she and her friends have gone through during their four years at CC.

With most of the friend group being from the East Coast, the geographical distance from their families left a void of comfort and support to fill, which they ended up doing for each other. “That was something that in non-college friendships, wasn’t necessarily the case,” said Tumavicus.

Mary Astrid Nussbaumer ’23 walked with her class at graduation last year but has been here this past semester finishing her thesis and completing final credits to be able to officially graduate. Many of her friends are in different places.

“It’s so weird to feel so close to someone, and then within a few months, your lives are completely different,” said Nussbaumer. Now that everyone is in such different places, the switch from being around everyone on a daily basis to planning reunions around people’s designated “planned time off” from some of her friend’s office jobs is something Nussbaumer is navigating.

“I do feel like my friendships at CC are very, very special,” said Nussbaumer. But for Nussbaumer, a part of coming into adulthood means evolving your definition of friendship.

According to Nussbaumer, friendship is a lot more than seeing someone every day and doing everything with them, “I think it’s important to know that you can not see people for a long time and still feel close to them.”

Although the group is still adjusting to planning time to see each other months in advance, Nussbaumer is confident that when they do get together it will feel the same.

Joshua Kalenga ‘23, also had some of his closest friends graduate last year, giving him a perspective on how college friendships will evolve into post-grad. Two of his friends who graduated last May recently got married. “It’s very weird to be here and see them taking a step that big in life,” said Kalenga.

According to Kalenga, staying in touch with friends and family is difficult when he is physically away from them. The natural progression of time makes it increasingly harder to stay in touch, “not because you don’t want to, but because, you know, life happens,” said Kalenga. “You have to meet new people; you have to develop new relationships. It doesn’t mean one is replacing the other, but they’re just at the forefront [of your mind] at different times.”

Kalenga has gone through many different stages in his life. He went to high school in Zambia where he grew up, and then in 2017 moved to Hong Kong for a different high school program, which then led him to CC. Each time he entered a new environment, completely different friendships came to fruition.

 “I’ve always found growing up to be exciting but also really, really hard, really painful actually, in a lot of ways,” said Kalenga, “Honestly, for me the word is grief. There’s a grief in going different ways and going into different stages in life, and it’s okay to acknowledge that and to try to prepare yourself for it. Because it can be hard.”

As Kalenga visualizes graduation day next month, he thinks about all his past graduations from different schools, with the anticipation of saying goodbye to some special people along with saying goodbye to a very formative chapter of his life.

“We’ll still be friends, but it won’t be in the same way.” said Kalenga. “Accepting that, I think, is hard, but also important. You know, I no longer have absurd expectations for what staying in touch is going to look like.” said Kalenga. “So I would say, in that way, I’m prepared for it.”

A shared sentiment of gratitude for the relationships they’ve made here at CC was expressed by the seniors I got to speak to. “I’ve been getting emotional when I’m walking around campus, or just, like, hanging out, and I just see so many people that I know. And I’m just like, I don’t know if I’m ever going to live somewhere where I say hi to so many people in like a 10-minute walk to class,” said Tumavicus.

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