There is person who pops in your head when someone says love, pain, help and best friend. The footprint they have planted in your life causes you to associate them with an emotion, memory or feeling. These are the souls that have stopped in to say “hi” once every six months, the ones that have been in it since day one, the ones that have touched down like a tornado, forcing you to rebuild, and then the ones who aid in your rescue. We find these people all throughout life, but the ones we find in college tend to impact us for the long term.
Something like this is a story in the first series of transforming relationships. This week I had the privilege to sit down with senior Christie Idiong and learn about her people.
Coming into Springfield College Idiong was looking for the balance that many college students desire—time for school, time for friends and time for herself. In a health science and rehab studies major, the rigorous courses can be overwhelming, and with the bubbly personality of Idiong, she wants to get a taste for all of the extra-curricular activities college can offer. After a while, time management becomes a necessary skill, but it can be the most difficult to master. For Idiong, she turned to her person—the one who took her in, lifted her up and guided her into being a confident student ready to take on the real world.
“Nick Vecc,” she said. Graduated student Nick Vicchiarelli (better known as Nick Vecc) came into Idiong’s life during her freshman year at pre-camp, a pre-orientation program at Springfield. To her, Vecc was the leader that took her under his wing, and as she put it, “took a chance” on her. The two bonded quickly, finding similar interests and engaged in various programs together including LTC, an alternative spring break trip and classes together at East Campus. She looked up to him, but was never his inferior.
“It went from leader, to camper, to equals very quickly. He has this way of making you feel as though you’re his equal,” recalls Idiong. And in struggle of finding how to manage her college life, it was exactly what she needed. In her sophomore year, Idiong tried a slice of everything, introducing herself to many of the friends she has now, but being spread so thin made it difficult for her to have a grasp on herself and her time. This is where Vecc stepped in.
“The thing about a good leader is they help draw out those qualities like confidence and self-reflection. They help other people realize their capabilities. [Nick] has this way of making people feel like everything is going to be okay,” explains Idiong. “Through his action he taught me how to handle hardships and he taught me how to ask for help.”
Vecc’s actions, however, strayed beyond answering the questions “What should I do?” Idiong disregards the phrase “nothing good happens after midnight,” recalling several occasions where she and her friends would be hanging out at 1 a.m., and she would have the most poignant discussions with Vecc.
“After midnight those are the memories you talk about. They’re heart-to-hearts, I’ve had so many pivotal conversations late at night with [Vecc],” said Idiong. “He makes you feel like you’re the most important person in the room.”
Those conversations about where she was headed, what her goals were and how she could best handle the stresses of college life had a domino effect on everything she has done to this point. She is molded around these perspectives she has gained from Vecc, and many others. Idiong explains her relationship with Vecc is rare because they share similar views and she can deeply relate to him. Words don’t have to be spoken in order to understand each other’s thoughts.
As graduation rounds the corner in May, Idiong says that their relationship will only evolve. Even though she does not see or talk to Vecc every single day, she still feels his presence, as she does with many of her friends who have left Springfield College. Moving forward, Idiong hopes that she will be that presence for someone else after she leaves. To Vecc, and to every one of her people, she says thank you.
“Thank you for the trust. Thank you for betting on me. Hopefully I’m doing everyone proud and I’m appreciative they’re letting me stand on their shoulders.”
If you are a senior and would like to be featured in this series in the next few weeks, please contact Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org.