Lizzie and Greta (right) met this fall at Lutheran Campus Ministry and have become virtually inseparable this year! We asked them to have a little conversation and help us understand how their friendship has grown.

L: From the beginning…I don’t even know, I showed up to LCM for worship and dinner and you were there and I don’t even know what we were first talking about. We were talking about halloween costume ideas and I was talking about how I wanted to dress up as the Coronavirus and it would be a good group costume because we had COVID-19, we had the Delta Variant, (did we even have Omicron yet?) So i was just discussing, probably really loud how that would be a really good group costume – but no one wanted to do it with me.

G: I did!

L: That’s true.

G: I was in on it. Did we execute those plans?

L: No, but that was a good first conversation. 

G: That is how it all started.

L: And then we went to the Madison Night Market that night with Josephine which was really fun.

G: Obviously, I was going to come back here because I work here, but what made you want to come back to LCM and keep going? 

L: Originally, I wanted to come back because there was this boy who was super cute but he only showed up that first week which was very disappointing. But once I came back the second week, even though my intent was just to get that guy’s phone number, it was nice seeing the same faces again because coming into college as a transfer student, living alone in a studio apartment, it definitely was very lonely. I was seeing so many new faces every single day. It was nice seeing the same faces again. That’s why I came back that third week and fourth week and kept coming just because that second week was so comforting.  That’s been my experience overall at Lutheran Campus Ministry. It is a really good group of people and it’s comforting to have the same group of faces at a scheduled time per week. 

G: I completely agree, that community and those welcoming faces is what keeps me coming back and makes me want to spend all my time here. 

L: Yeah, we spend all of our time here. But it is hard on a campus this big – like undergraduate 35,000 and 50,000 with all the programs combined, that’s so many people and there’s so much anonymity. I never see the same faces walking down the street, like, ever. It’s so nice coming into this building and seeing, even if I don’t know everyone’s name, knowing that I’ve seen them before, it just makes it seem a little smaller. 

G: All the people that meet in that study room upstairs – I don’t know a lot of their names, but I know their faces and I know that they’re here all the time and that unspoken [understanding] that we both use this shared space.

L: It can be hard. Walking down the street and when you see a stranger, at least for me, the first thing I notice is something that I like about them or their outfit. And so walking down the street, i’ll be like, “Wow, she has really nice pants on” or “Ohmygosh I really like her shoes” and even walking down University, it makes me think “Ohmygosh, everyone is so cool” and I am not cool at all. But seeing the same people every day, not that you start to notice their bad qualities, but you do realize “OK, I am a normal person” and everyone walking down these streets are normal people so it’s nice to be able to see people for more than just a split second walking down the street.

G: Or even in your classes – it depends, sometimes you can have a really great class if you have a smaller class size and it’s a really interactive class but you’re seeing those people in your classes every day but you’re not necessarily getting to talk to them. So I think that’s what makes LCM special in that way. Also, no one is forced to be here. Like in class, you have to go. Everyone’s forced to be in that room together. But here, it’s really all by your own will so I think that plays into it too.  You’re always welcome here. I know this week I haven’t been around a whole lot but then when I came on Thursday Sami was like “Greta, you’re alive!” all because I haven’t been around the Campus Center this week?

L: That’s true though, people notice when you don’t show up which is really nice.  People notice and Christopher, one day, I had a headache and probably had really bad RBF and he came up to me and was like ”Are you OK? You kinda look a little different today, I was just wondering.” And that was so nice – I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone ask me something like that before but the fact that they’re so attentive, is very, very nice. I mean, college is such a vulnerable time in general when people can feel really lost, not knowing what they’re doing, so having this community is so important.  Also being at such a big campus, there’s such a big imposter syndrome – everyone is so educated, I don’t understand anything. Everyone is so well dressed but I wear sweatpants all the time. That feeling of being lost can be exacerbated by going to a large college – obviously there’s pros and cons to everything but it’s nice being in a community that’s a bit smaller. Did you ever feel those emotions of imposter syndrome? Because my brother never did and some people I’ve talked to feel so comfortable at such a big campus. 

G: I definitely did feel those feelings my freshman year, I was hanging out with the same 2 girls. I remember right away, I tried to find a church group mainly because I knew it would make my mom happy. For some reason, I started with CRU as it was the first opportunity to present itself to me.  I went to that for a bit but I was really caught up with trying to be like everybody else – as a freshman I was really caught up with being with my friends and I didn’t want to miss out. So I got really caught up in that and in that way was feeling imposter syndrome feelings – like I was forcing myself to go out but I didn’t actually really want to go out. 

L: I’m really happy that I’ve cut down on my social media use – but at least, first semester seeing so many people post photos of them at the bar or parties or football games. 

G: Oh football games were not that fun for me – WHY is the student section directly in the sun?! And why does everyone want to be drunk for the football game? Don’t you want to watch the football game? That’s not fun to me but as a freshman, I pretended that stuff was fun because everybody else thought it was fun

L: But DOES everybody else think that’s fun? Probably not, I don’t know. If you have to be raging drunk to do something, is that activity really that fun? I’m glad that I have this group at LCM and I’m super grateful for our friendship. The fact that I live alone has been so great because I do struggle so much with trying to mold myself to fit into whatever shape I need to to fit in with other people and living alone I’ve really had to prioritize what I’m choosing to do. It’s not even that I’ve gone out that many times – I just don’t really see all the fun in it.  I’ll do it a few times a year but never more than that. 

G: That’s what I admire about our friendship – I had been searching for that friendship that didn’t prioritize going out and having to constantly be drunk to have fun – which was the majority of my freshman experience – sophomore year didn’t count cause I was home for covid but freshman year nobody wanted to do anything unless they were drunk and I was like, for what reason, why is that fun? How are you not anxious? 

L: Honestly though, I get so anxious about my safety that the thought of being so drunk that I can’t stand, not knowing where I am and being with people that I’ve only known for a few weeks or months, that is terrifying to me.  That’s so scary and I’m scared of other people. I feel you’re the same way, definitely the mother hen of the group you’re in. 

G: Yeah, I was the mom of the 2 girls I hung out with freshman year. 

L: That’s a lot of stress – you’re worried for your own safety but theirs and that’s so much responsibility. Obviously no one’s giving you that responsibility but it’s just in our nature to make sure everyone’s OK and obviously if everyone is piss-drunk everyone is not OK,, the night is never going to end well. 

G: I think the reason why we click so well, and most people at LCM have the same nature as us – we all care about other people and want the best for everyone. I think that’s why we get along so well.  I think that’s why you and I clicked – because we’re EXTREMELY similar.  I haven’t met a person at LCM that I don’t get along with. 

L: What I love about it, at least in High School & Youth Group, there was definitely a popularity game to it, or the pastor/teacher would choose a favorite. I feel like here there’s no competition – everyone is so supportive of everyone and I am so proud of everyone! Noah’s graduating, Sami’s graduating, that’s so exciting and so nice being in a community where you feel so supported. Even Pastor Emily being “you guys should come over for Easter Brunch!” I was not expecting that from college at all, whatsoever.  I just came to LCM that first week in September because it would be nice to go to worship because that is routine and maybe it would help me feel less anxious about school and that was definitely the best decision I’ve made this school year.

G: I think that one of my best decisions was when Pastor Emily asked if I would be interested in an internship and I was like, “Me? You want me to work for you? I haven’t even been involved in Campus Ministry that long. Are you sure you want me?” I hadn’t been an intern before, and hadn’t done the kind of stuff that I’m doing now for social media before.  I think my mom was pretty supportive of the decision too – just go for it, just try it out. I know for a fact, if i wouldn’t have taken this job, I wouldn’t have been able to force myself to come to LCM as often or have been involved in the way that I am now and I definitely would not have met all these awesome people. Best decision – becoming an intern and opening all of these doors for friendship and growth. 

L: Next year I’ll be working as a Fellow with a Hospital Chaplain, which I never thought the opportunity would come about and it’s such a great opportunity and it’s so sweet that Pastor Emily curated that for me and wanted to support me and have a job for me that I would truly love. That’s something so great about the church is that it does spread into the community so there’s going to be something for everyone coming here.  But you kept saying the word growth. What ways have you grown the most due to LCM?

G: I love this question, Pastor Emily just asked the interns this question a couple Sundays ago and I think the biggest thing for me is that LCM has taught me to keep an open mind about things. I would say that I was fairly open minded in comparison to the rest of my hometown but being here at LCM you meet a lot of people that you maybe wouldn’t have been friends with or had the chance to meet outside of LCM and not just people that you meet but opportunities as well – Service opportunities like working at The Keep. I feel like opportunities like those wouldn’t have presented themselves to me because I wouldn’t have gone seeking those out.  But being here and having those opportunities and learning to just take them as they come has been really inspiring.  I have never had friends with such a wide variety of interests. 

L: Yeah and fully being honest about those interests and really pursuing them.  I think I can say this about you too, but tell me if I’m wrong, I’ve always been attracted to people in friendships that are really, really cool but I spent way too much time on social media over quarantine as we all probably did, but I was alone at home with my parents almost all of quarantine and so I looked up to these girls on social media that, looking back now, are very toxic people, very narcissistic, very into alcohol. I was not aspiring to be the person that I deep down want to be and coming to LCM has been so nice, because meeting people like Noah and Sami and Abbie, and you was like “Wow, these people are super passionate about – like birds, and so many different things.”  I don’t need to be super pretty and have really trendy clothes and go to parties all the time to have a personality.  That was my bit of growth.