Everything bagels with cream cheese

Chris ’20 is a boarding student from Plainsboro, New Jersey. Here she writes about an important Peddie friendship (and exam week food cravings). 

On the first morning of POCO freshman year, I rolled up in the passenger seat of my mom’s minivan, slightly intimidated by the energetic POCO leaders jumping up and down with signs. We were directed towards the Science Center and I kept glancing around hoping to see someone I could talk to. I was really worried I would already be late to the social game, considering some of my peers attended preseason or knew each other from their middle schools or Peddie summer school. Finally, I saw one of my childhood best friends, Eileen, and a girl with a blue printed dress, grey cardigan, and brown sandals walking next to her.

I knew this was my cue to embrace my first chance at making new friends at Peddie, so I hopped off and quickly ran in their direction. I learned the girl’s name was Uma and she was a day student from Cranbury. We chatted for a bit and exchanged our schedules, and I was disappointed to find out that Eileen and I had no classes together. However, after comparing my courses with Uma, our schedules began aligning block by block. I had Chemistry, Orchestra, Humanities, Math, French and Community Life with Uma. We even had the same advisor.  

Maybe it was just because we were taking the same classes, but I’d like to think that the Peddie gods (also known as the registrar) looked at Uma and me and intentionally stuck us together because they believed we were compatible. Regardless, on the first morning of class, I walked into Honors Chem A block and quickly found a seat next to her.

Chris '20 and Uma '20

Chris ’20 and Uma ’20 became good friends at Peddie.

Uma and I began to see each other all throughout the school days and walk with each other to and from classes and activities. Her familiar face and perpetually friendly persona became reassuring to me, a tiny freshman girl just trying to find her path in a new school. Slowly, our companionship became habit. If I wanted to ask someone to study with me in the library, I texted Uma. If she felt stressed about an upcoming Precalc test, we sat on a bench on Center Campus and talked. If we craved food during exam week, we walked to Hot Bagels together for everything bagels with cream cheese.

That spring, I had a disc herniation which resulted in extreme back pain all the time. I wasn’t allowed to carry heavy items, including my backpack. Uma came to the rescue, climbing up and down three flights of Annenberg stairs with one backpack on her back and another in front, not caring about what anyone thought, or if she looked like a well-equipped bodyguard. I’m eternally grateful for Uma and all of the friends who helped me during this period in freshman year. 

Since sophomore year, Uma and I have had fewer classes together, yet we are still inseparable. Whether it’s hanging out in my dorm room, riding the shuttle to see Avengers Endgame on a Saturday, or going to New York together, we always find time for each other. Uma is one of the most selfless, considerate and fun people I know, and I’m proud to call her one of my best friends. I’m forever indebted to Peddie for creating this friendship that I know will last a lifetime. 

Learn more about Peddie and plan your visit.