I am a freshman at Bard College in upstate New York — practically three hours from the City, my family, and my mentor Mel. So meeting physically with Mel has become a rare blessing. I message her. This is where I tell her all that is happening — the good, the bad and the puzzling experiences here at college.
Bard is unique; it requires the freshman class to complete Citizen Science during January break. That meant I had to really prioritize meeting with Mel to make sure my whole break wasn’t eaten up by school. When we met again, we went to a coffee shop that she recommended. I was so eager to see Mel but surprisingly also nervous, so that I got there about an hour and a half before our meeting time. I didn’t even go inside. Instead, outside in the cold, I waited for the person who has given me strength and encouragement. When Mel texted her arrival, a smile broke over my face. After hugging for awhile, we went inside, ordered our drinks, and sat down.
For several hours, we talked. She told me the updates in her life; her next steps. She also told me about her new Girls Write Now mentee. I told her all about my college experiences and what I am hoping to do. As we sat at the mini table with my coffee and her tea, I told her about the situation from October that resulted in me, in tears, frantically calling her. During that stressful time, Mel was the first person I called. I needed someone to calm me down and the only person I could think of was Mel. So in the coffee shop, in detail, I described everything, using a few voice and body modifications to make the story come to life. Mel, occasionally picking at the string of her tea bag, listened and sometimes added her opinion on the situation, her facial expressions changing every so often. When the story was done, we discussed some of our concerns. She asked questions that would lead into another topic that fueled our conversation further. This happens often when I meet with Mel, and it felt like old times.
When I was still part of the Digital Media Mentoring Program, our meetings would consist of Girls Write Now writing projects, so our conversations were sometimes limited. But that day, we ended up talking for about four hours. Honestly, college makes it a lot harder even to text on a consistent basis. From essay writing to studying Japanese, I have learned that it is challenging to be in touch with Mel as much as I want to be. But also, I learned that you don’t need to text often to keep a friendship. Being in touch with Mel means that things are different but the same. Though we don’t have our weekly meetings, we can still contact each other like before. It felt so refreshing to meet with Mel again. Being able to discuss our experiences and just hang out was truly amazing.
I am hoping that when the summer rolls in, and the weather is nicer, we can do something together, and I would love to grow my Girls Write Now community by meeting her new mentee. I am really grateful to Girls Write Now for the opportunity to get to know Mel and to have her in my life.