The past couple of years have shown me to never judge a book by its cover. Friends can make their way into your life and they can help change you for the better.
One of my friends that did that is my former roommate Jared Shilot. Jared needed a place to live for his final semester of grad school at Kent State last spring. My brother Mitchell and I knew of Jared because we went to rival high schools, but we did not know him well.
My brother and I probably had our own preconceived notions about Jared. Jared was an all-time great wide receiver at Southern Local High School. He was a supremely talented athlete and scholar. We initially viewed him as a very confident star who was not going to take time for some of the silly day-to-day things Mitchell and I enjoy. Our opinions of him would change rather quickly.
The day before we returned to Kent after winter break, Jared asked us an important question. He asked if we liked playing Madden because he’s a huge gamer. We were in shock. We played countless games of Madden throughout the semester. Mitchell, Jared and Jared’s friend, MJ Williams, even played an online Madden season for hours on end. We made tons of memories and we felt comfortable because Jared liked the same things we did. We didn’t feel intimidated by Jared at all because he was one of us.
I also really appreciate Jared because we were able to bond on a personal level. Jared and I would talk for hours about many different things. We often talked about our families, our friendships and what life was going to be like after college. Every conversation we had was valuable. He has a calm demeanor, is a good listener and offers good advice. Those are just a few of the things that make him a very good friend.
I really appreciate that Jared took time to watch wrestling with me on many occasions. He genuinely cared about my interests and he enjoyed the social aspect of the watch parties that I had with my friends during WrestleMania season.
We had lots of laughs and incredible bro sessions, so I was really sad when it all ended last May. However, I will forever be grateful for the lasting impact Jared had on me. Jared showed me that being a good friend is about putting yourself out there and enjoying the company of others.
Jared now works in Cleveland at one of the most prestigious accounting firms in the country: Deloitte. He works hard to accomplish everything that he wants to in life. I have no doubt that 10 years from now he will still be the driven, genuine go-getter he is today.
Our bond is still strong. Mitchell and I have been able to make it up to Cleveland a few times to see him and it’s like he never left Kent.
I can’t wait until the next time we can make it into town. Thanks for everything, Jared! I hope we can still be friends after I beat you in Fantasy Football next season.
Contact Michael Reiner at email@example.com.