Opinions, Column

Finding Your “MacLaren’s”

I have invested too many hours into finishing How I Met Your Mother this semester.

Usually, I would have already given up on a show of this magnitude (it is nine seasons long). But, the constant life lessons and sheer humor of the show kept me coming back for more. My joy over How I Met Your Mother, however, was inevitably crushed by a horrible ending that made the whole show seem like a waste of time.

Despite its anticlimactic ending, I learned a lot from this show. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, How I Met Your Mother revolves around the friendship of five close friends and the changing dynamics between them. They always congregate at the same Irish pub, MacLaren’s, where all their most important life moments happen. Although it is a tad concerning, they spend every night at that bar—and I loved this concept of a regular hangout spot for close friends. I thought, what is my MacLaren’s? In what place do my friends and I spend hours laughing and sharing college’s best and worst moments?

For me, this spot was Mac last year. My best friends and I would arrive at 4:30 p.m. for dinner, and we’d chat with one another and some of our other classmates passing by until the workers had to kick us out. Mac was the place to be. I remember having the most dramatic and extravagant displays of pure joy, where I could not stop laughing. The camaraderie of Mac, however, did not transfer to Lower. It feels like everyone is too busy with their never-ending activities to have debriefing appointments at the sophomore class’ main dining hall.

So, what’s my replacement? It would have to be late night at the Rat.

I spend all my nights at the Rat listening to random workers’ playlists blasting over the speakers and doing homework at the same window table with all the outlets. At this table, I send in resumes, get responses back, share details from the weekend with my friends, or waste time with my friends. The Rat is my home base at night. It provides mediocre Boston College dining food, but it also provides impeccable company and conversation.  

Every friend group should have a place like this. It is different from going to a friend’s room or sitting on the Quad. A place on campus where your friends always return is part of the quintessential college experience. This is where the friend group interacts with the public. Where you laugh so hard because the people around you are judging your group’s inside jokes. Or where you point to a random kid in your psychology class and talk about how they ripped one during their final presentation. I believe these places bond a friend group together. Without a place like this, my friend group would not be as strong as it is.

So maybe you should take your friends to the Rat, Addie’s, or the reading room of O’Neill just to spend time together and laugh. The people you bring to your version of MacLaren’s will probably be at your wedding party, so get to know them well. The most important part of college (aside from the degree) is the people we meet. So don’t waste your time on people who don’t want to just sit and talk to you. Instead, spend time with folks at your MacLaren’s.

April 23, 2023