I first met Saumya, in a way, the summer before freshman year. After my class was assigned to residential colleges, the Facebook group "Rocky College-2015" formed, and Saumya, true to her gregarious nature, friended most of the people in it. I think I met Kelly while brushing my teeth, but I'm not quite sure. We lived in the same residence hall, and somehow she became one of my friends there. I did not meet Nikhila, our final roommate, until Saumya suggested the four of us room together.
As Nikhila and I talked for the first time, we quickly figured out that we would both be spending the summer after freshman year on Princeton's campus, she to work on an independent project with the computer science department, and I to do research with the astrophysics department. On a whim, she suggested we room together over the summer as well, and I agreed. We both wanted to save money, so we found a couple of other students and formed a mini co-op to cook food. (You can see our creations from that summer here.)
The summer was fun, and I was eager to start sophomore year with the four of us together in Holder Hall. It was a busy two semesters, full of problem sets, late night conversations, eager trips to ice cream stores in Princeton and parties to watch Pixar movies. Through all the chaos, I got to know each of my roommates better and to respect them more and more—Kelly for her calm and organized way of handling challenges, Saumya for her unfailingly friendly nature, and Nikhila for her creative and out-of-the-box approach to life.
Junior year has brought us all closer together. My roommates are the people I know best at Princeton, and the people at Princeton who know me best, and I often turn to them for encouragement, advice and inspiration, which they never fail to provide. In one particularly memorable moment, Kelly and Nikhila organized a surprise Valentine's Day party after a busy week in February. I came back to the dorm late on a Friday and found a desk covered with flowers and cookies.
I also found a mug on my desk, which Nikhila and Kelly had hand-painted with a quote from George Eliot: "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” Nikhila, Kelly and Saumya are my faithful hands at Princeton and will shape my memories of the school for years to come.