3:00 p.m. on August 1, 2014.
That was the time when my family pulled out of the Communications Residential College loading zone and drove me back to my humble abode five miles away in Skokie, Illinois. I was in the car slowly getting farther away from the best five weeks of my life. The five miles separated me from my new family, from memories that I wish to relive.
For the first 12 hours of separation, reality didn’t quite set in. “I can always go back and see my 84-member cherub family tomorrow,” I said to myself.
But post-cherub depression set in when my dad told me to pack right up again. This time, I wasn’t going to be in the car for fifteen minutes, but for nine hours to go to the east coast. We went on the same route two years ago, but this time it would be different. Every state that used to be just another state in the way of our final destination now had a meaning – yet another cherub connection.
We first drove through Northwest Indiana, where the #MedillSZN founder lives. Then we passed through Michigan. I thought of the cherubs who lived there, and texted cherub friends the entire trip, undergoing withdrawal.
We arrived in Niagara Falls at around 3 a.m. and spent half of the next day there. Driving a total of 2000 miles, we then proceeded to spend the next eight days in Boston; Worchester, MA; New Haven, CT; New York City; Philadelphia, PA; and Pittsburgh. I visited several colleges, and while not visiting colleges, we were eating. We revisited our favorite Chinese restaurant in Boston, East Ocean City, tried Shake Shack for the first time and ate at the first pizzeria in the United States.
After going on the road trip, I went on an overnight retreat for my school. Again, as we were told to reflect on our summer and our lives, I couldn’t help but think of the relationships I formed with the people at cherubs.
One of my summer reading books was The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. And one thing that I carried with me on the first day of school was the experiences I had at cherubs and how I can now see journalism connections in literally (sorry, John) all parts of my life. Cherubs manifested itself once again when I pitched my trend story to the editor of the “Daily Herald.” After about two weeks of edits, it got published. Being successful in pitching and publishing my story is one of my greatest accomplishments to date, but I have cherubs to thank for that.
It’s now August 29, almost one full month since Medill cherubs ended, but the memories are still fresh in my mind. I’m back in school again, trying to find a routine, and it feels like I never left. But at the same time, it’s funny how random memories of J. Crew or times in the Big Screening Room (BSR) pop into my mind while I’m in school. Cherubs was an true and real experience that I will remember forever.