As Boston College students, it can be tempting to hide our true selves. Embracing our individuality can help us to understand ourselves and experience the world around us as genuinely as possible. Authentic Eagles is a series that gives a voice to the people who have experienced firsthand the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of being one’s authentic self at BC. We hope that readers are inspired to have conversations and reflections of their own, working toward being more authentic individuals.
Nick Edel, MCAS '19
Over the course of my four years at BC, I have been blessed to find people I’ve grown to trust and love. My direct friend group has been with me through it all, as we all learned how to deal with relationships, friendships that died out, and classes we never expected to be that hard.
But through my time in My Mother’s Fleabag, a group I have had the pleasure of being part of for four years and helped co-direct this year, I’ve tried to learn from the mistakes of those before me.
It’s a unique experience to hang out with people older than you, especially in college. I remember when I first got into Fleabag, a week into freshman year, the group went to the off-campus house of one of the juniors at the time, Amanda.
I sat across from people I knew nothing about, but who were telling me that “Fleabag is a family,” and I was excited but nervous. I was relieved I had Tom and Ari, who had gotten into the group at the same time, to talk to about everything. It was a bit of a culture shock; I never really expected to do improv in college, and neither did they.
But as I got closer with the two of them, I also began to get closer with everyone else in the group. Hearing that they were going through the same struggles I was going through then—adjusting to living away from family, dealing with classes and professors who did not seem to care for them, etc.—made me feel right at home.
I realized I could always come to these people for advice if I wanted to, and they became some of my closest friends at BC.
One person I got particularly close with was a girl named Sara, who graduated last year. Sara and I are both from New York City, and we both show it: we have big personalities and got along right from the start.
Over the three years we had together, I spent numerous nights with Sara and her roommates, discussing everything from dating to religion to racism to bad roommates. Anything was fair game when we were together, even embarrassing videos she posted on Facebook when she was 12. We were like two peas in a pod, and we always joked about opening our own bodega here at BC called “E and E’s,” since both of our last names start with "e."
But, there came a time last year when I realized that I wouldn’t see Sara as often as I had the last few years. I would go out of my way to make sure I got to talk to her almost every day, even if it was just for a minute or two, but I knew her leaving was inevitable. Sara took a job out in L.A. and was going to move in the summer after she graduated.
Saying goodbye was hard, but I knew it wouldn’t be the end. Even this year, I was always in contact with Sara about Fleabag, her job, or anything that was on my mind.
However, last year I came to the realization that I didn’t know what I was going to do without Sara. Sara, for me, was Boston College. She was friendly, well spoken, and stood up for the things she believed in. And she was the heart of everything I think Fleabag stands for: the idea that you can just go up on stage and be a goof, but as long as you’re having fun, it doesn’t matter.
Going into this year, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to live up to the expectations given to me by the previous three years of Fleabag leaders. I was going to be one of the co-directors. It was my job to make sure the group kept running smoothly and that we stayed as close as we always had. But there was always this lingering feeling that I could never do what they had done.
At the beginning, Matt, Ben, and Tatiana were the seniors that introduced me to the group and made me feel welcome. Chris, Jenna, and Amanda had helped me flourish as a sophomore and really grow as both an improviser and a person. And last year, Caitrin and Sara were my best friends. They showed me what it truly meant to lead, and they were always there for me when I needed them most.
Now, it was my, Tom, and Ari’s turn. Would we be able to replicate what had been done before? Would we be able to make the group better than it had ever been? These questions were there, and it was tough to have to answer them on our own along the way.
When we held initiation this year, we went to a house off campus, just like we had done my freshman year. Sitting there with the three new people we had taken aboard, I couldn’t help but think back to my own beginnings in Fleabag.
From that first day, it was always me, Tom, and Ari. We had watched the group change over the past four years, and we helped with that change.
This year, the group was made up of people that all three of us had picked at one point or another. While it wasn’t filled with all of our old friends from the past, it was filled with new ones who looked up to me the same way I had looked up to those who came before.
I was now the one people looked to for advice. It’s weird how things can change so quickly without you ever even realizing it. You’re so busy looking at those ahead of you, graduating each year while you stay behind, that sometimes you lose sight of the people who look at you the same way.
This year has been devoted to living up to the expectations and memories of my mentors, while also grappling with the fact that they are no longer here to see it. It's important to not only learn from their mistakes, but also cherish their successes. I’m sure everyone at BC has someone they look up to, and maybe are just now processing that they won’t be coming back in the fall.
From my own experiences, it all works out in the end. They shared their knowledge with you, and now it's your turn to pass the baton to the next line of BC students, continuing the cycle.
I know I did my best to continue the traditions that were taught to me, and at the end of the day, all we can do is hope the people behind us will be inspired to do the same.