In 1990, I was fortunate enough to meet a girl who has been one of my best friends for 18 years. Our introduction was thanks to a guy I worked with at the computer lab at UGA. Robert and I had an IS class together and had a group project. Since Robert and I worked together it was a logical choice for us to team up. We had to have 4 or 6 other people on the team. Robert knew more people in the class than I did, and I asked him to pick people who would actually work. One of the girls he picked was Karen and he was right, she did work and was fun to be around.
Karen and I had several more classes together that year in our major, which was Information Systems. Every time we had a group project we teamed up together. She and I both worked on campus and understood what it was like to go to class and work full-time. We studied together so much that in one class each time we had a test we sat on opposite ends of the room. We knew that if we missed a question it was going to be the exact same question and we did not want to be accused of cheating by sitting next to each other.
I should have known immediately we were kindred spirits. She loved Mexican food as much as I did and still do. We love cheesecake. After exams we would celebrate with Mexican food and cheesecake. It was a fun tradition. We also both love roller coasters and warm weather. We are Southern girls who do not like the cold.
We worked on our resumes and cover letters together. Since we were in the same field, Karen and I went on several interviews for the same jobs. Upon graduation, we did not get our first or second jobs at the same company. But we made sure we kept in touch. We went out to eat occasionally and talked on the phone to keep in touch.
Eventually, I got a job at The Home Depot in the IS Department. It was a fun company to work for. Since it is a Fortune 500 company, there are tons of young people working in the corporate office. All of us on the fast track to moving up in our careers. Many of us still without children. We occasionally hung out together after work and always enjoyed eating lunch with co-workers. I told Karen how much I enjoyed working there and encouraged her to apply for a job. She got it and for several years we worked in the same building on different project teams.
Karen and I went to lunch often. We also had several other co-workers we enjoyed going to lunch with, especially Susan and Keisha. The four of us even went on a cruise together in 2002. When Karen was studying to get into a grad program, I would quiz her on her vocabulary words.
We talk about our goals and our mission statements. While we do not pass judgment on each other, we do hold each other accountable for our goals. Sometimes we tell each other it is time to quit feeling sorry for ourselves and begin working on our next steps towards our goals. She has written 2 children’s books that are yet to be published but I know without a doubt they will be published at some point. She encourages my political aspirations and enthusiasm.
Karen purchased a house near my home and has lived near me for the past few years. We do not work together anymore but we still keep in touch via email and phone calls at least once a month. While we do not go out to eat together a couple of times a week anymore, we do go out to eat every other month or so.
There are a few other friends that Mr. Right and I keep in touch with from college but only a very small handful that we keep in touch with on a regular and consistent basis. Karen is one of these friends. Mr. Right and I both love her and are extraordinarily grateful for her friendship over the past 18 (almost 19) years!
Happy Thanksgiving, Karen!