My freshman year, I wasn’t as outgoing as I am now.
During housing selection for the following year, I met a girl who was going to be my future suitemate. Shyly smiling at each other, we didn’t really have much to talk about. After some small talk, we reached the inevitable topic of the season: Fred Fest.
We discovered that although both of us had been greatly looking forward to the college’s tradition, we were unsure if we would be participating this year. All of my friends were going to be away at a track meet and all of her friends would be out of town as well, some visiting home and others at a softball tournament.
“I don’t know about how you Fred Fest,” she admitted. “But I feel like it wouldn’t be much fun to go about it alone.”
Nodding, I expressed disappointment in missing out on the age-old tradition of Fred Fest when I was hit by a sudden idea. Now, I didn’t know this girl — we’d only just met, but she seemed nice enough.
I was feeling bold for some reason. Maybe it was the allure of Fred Fest. Or maybe it was fate.
“Why don’t we Fred Fest together?!” I asked her excitedly, half-expecting her not to accept my offer. Instead I was surprised by a radiant smile on her face and an enthusiastic “Yes!”
On that fateful day of Fred Fest, she and I met up outside her residence hall and found we were wearing matching t-shirts — shirts with a message of Fredonia pride—however witty they may have been. Walking to Steele Hall for the Lupe Fiasco concert, we wished other passing Fredonians a “Happy Fred Fest!”
It felt like Christmas.
We were floored by the opening acts — bands made up of Fredonia students who were unbelievably talented. And then Lupe came on and we thought it was the coolest thing that an actual celebrity was performing at our college. Our feet hurt the next morning from all the dancing we did that night.
She and I were reminiscing the other day on how uncharacteristic it was of our freshman selves to go out on a limb and hang out with a complete stranger. We agree that it was one of the best decisions we made while in college.
That stranger from my freshman year Fred Fest has been one of my best friends for two years now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We can’t wait to celebrate our “friendship anniversary” at Fred Fest this year.
Many say you find your best friends in college. But she and I know better than that. We know from experience that you find your very best friends on Fred Fest.