The JoJo Experience: Future friend anxieties

Monica Godnick, Editor-In-Chief

As a second semester senior, when college decisions are already sent out and the symptoms of senioritis severely kick in, one cannot help but think about what their life is going to be like in the near future. Every thought spirals back to who you are going to be next fall when college begins. While these changes promise to be exciting, it is intimidating to think about starting all over from scratch.

This sensation is familiar since, not too long ago, all those who are seniors were once insecure freshman trying to find a group that resonated with them. I remember being new to Montgomery County, and as I reached out to different students to make friends, it was a challenge to find “my people.” I was fortunate enough to find a solid group who I consider to be true friends. Now that we are going our separate ways it’s not only sad that I will not be able to share time with them everyday, but it is also nerve wracking to put yourself out there among people you do not know well, whether in college or in any new environment.

My anxiety towards this issue, like other seniors, started when joining the “admitted students” facebook group chat of the colleges that have accepted me to date. Here, students introduce themselves and post their interests. This way, other admitted students can share common interests. The idea is cool as being able to get to know other students through this social media group is a great way to familiarize us with the incoming freshman class. Nonetheless, I cannot help but ask myself: How much can one judge another person from one social media post, or even the profile itself? What if I end up having issues with my future roommate? If I don’t post in the group will that affect how fast I get to meet new people?

In the case of my sister Joanne a.k.a JoJo, she has special needs and her development is similar to one of a toddler, thus along with other aspects of her rare condition she is completely-physically dependent on others, while her thoughts and actions are quite independent. She is always unapologetically her playful and bold self. JoJo does not feel the need to judge others or be accepted by others according to social norms. Those little formalities and implied rules that many follow in order to “fit in” do not exist for her whatsoever. She expresses however she feels whenever she wants to and she does not have that fear of what others might say. The amazing thing about being like JoJo is that her attitude toward life is utterly genuine. JoJo does not reject anyone who sends out good vibes. In JoJo’s head, any person can be part of “her people.” My parents always jokingly say, as long as someone can smile, transmit good energy and wear bright colors, they can always be part of JoJo’s tribe.

I learn and I receive love from JoJo every single day. She teaches all these lessons to me just by being herself. Despite all my overthinking, deep down I know the answer to finding friends in college will ultimately come down to being my authentic self.