I’m not gonna lie — I’m stressed. The semester ends in approximately two weeks, and there is so much to do and simply not enough time. I know myself, and while I could easily lock myself on the fourth floor of the library and work all day, I’m trying to achieve a better balance. I’m trying to still make time to spend with friends because what I’ve learned over the semester is that the laughable moments with friends are integral to the college experience.
In early November, I went on a retreat with the 5C club First Love. I had a mountain of work to complete that weekend, and I was not alone. People had midterms that upcoming week, papers to write and presentations to practice for — the list was endless. We all could have easily spent our weekends working, but we all — hesitantly — decided to take a break and spend 26 hours together enjoying the nature of Crestline, California instead.
Those 26 hours were the most absurd 26 hours I have ever lived through. A friend’s car got stuck on an insurmountably steep driveway, another friend almost got locked inside a bedroom due to the Airbnb’s highly dysfunctional door and I was inadvertently baptized with a flood of toilet water falling from the ceiling.
But what made me laugh the hardest was our Sunday morning breakfast, which, in my mind, was the perfect way to end this circus of a retreat.
I woke up on Sunday morning and groggily made my way to the kitchen to cut up some Costco muffins for people to eat. As I placed a slice on my plate, I noticed my friend Claire fumbling with the microwave.
“What are you microwaving?” I asked. My eyes then fell to the bag of Dino Nuggets that we used for last night’s dinner. “No way,” I said, shaking my head and laughing. “It’s seven in the morning!”
But indeed, Claire was microwaving Dino Nuggets for people’s early morning protein fix. Once the microwave’s timer went off, she funneled them onto a plate, and I placed a few next to my muffin, chuckling. “It’s like college chicken and waffles,” I said. “Fried chicken, but chicken nuggets. Waffles, but Costco muffins.”
As more people woke up, they grabbed their own plate of “college chicken and waffles,” laughing at how the savory nuggets surprisingly complemented the sweetness of the blueberry cake and vanilla icing. We feasted together in the chilly hours of the morning, reminding people not to close the dysfunctional door all the way and to avoid the upstairs bathroom. The time together was so sweet.
It is moments like these that I think back to whenever I feel caught up in the stress and busyness of school. Yes, I have a paper to write and an exam that, at the present moment, I feel entirely unprepared for. Yes, I could spend my entire evening in the library and have more than enough work to entertain me. But time with friends, especially eating together, is precious and should not be missed out on.
In the last couple weeks of the semester, I know you will be busy. I hope, however, that amidst all the assignments on your to-do list, you make time to spend with your friends. Take a study break and eat something good! Find the “college chicken and waffles” for you and your friends! I assure you that the work will get done, and who knows — with friends by your side during this hectic season, you may even be smiling through it.
Emily Kim PO ’25 is from Irvine, California. You will always find her with a scrunchie on her wrist and napping in Lincoln Hall.