DI Voices | Who is your childhood best friend? | Part II


Photo courtesy of Vishesh Askhat Pathak

Vishesh Askhat Pathak, junior in Information Sciences, with his younger sister, Agastika Pathak. Pathak and other students talk about their childhood best friends who have made a huge impact on their lives.

By Talia Duffy, Assistant Opinions Editor

In part one of this series, I told the story of my childhood best friends.

But this is a question I like to ask other people, too, because it reveals them at a stage in their life that you’ll never know. Upon shuffling through their old memories, their faces expose a kind of vulnerability, a kind of innocence, that’s only found in children. Friendship on its own is extremely powerful, and the first person who truly introduces someone to that concept will hold a special place in their heart.

The stories of three university students’ childhood best friends comprise the second part of this series.

Vishesh Askhat Pathak, junior in Information Sciences

“The idea of best friends for me has been constantly changing over the years, but one particular individual that’s been constant for me as a best friend throughout my entire life has been my mother — and my younger sister, she’s eight years younger than me …  no matter how terrible of a person I was or how radically I was acting, these two individuals were always there. I’ve seen many close friends of mine, even the people I might call my best friends, have turned their back on me. But these two people — they never gave up hope on me, that I could do something in life or make something of myself.

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“Speaking of my sister, I would say she is mostly more mature than me. Even though she’s like, eight years younger than me, we literally share pretty much everything that’s happening in our lives … She’s kind of like my therapist, to be very honest. So, yeah, she is my best friend.

“Last summer, I was going through a very stressful situation. I had a terrible breakup kind of thing … that was my first time. So I was really stressed. The stress was really bad, to the point where I couldn’t sleep. I was suffering from insomnia. I started dissociating with my family because I thought I might make them a little scared, like, ‘you’re so far away dealing with all this, and you should come back and stuff like that, so I didn’t want that to happen. So I started smoking in a really bad fashion, like, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, or maybe like juuling the entire pod in one sitting. That was very detrimental to my health.

“My sister, fortunately — she noticed some patterns. Like, ‘you’re not sharing a lot of things with me these days, what’s up?’ And she confronted me. It took her 15 minutes to figure out, within three, four days of when this happened. And I legitimately broke down.

“She knew that whenever I’m stressed, I’m unable to sleep. She was like, ‘Put me on FaceTime, I’ll read you a book or something like that or play your favorite music. I want you to go to bed, and if you wake up, I’ll log you out of all social media platforms.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll go to bed, don’t do anything stupid.’ Three, four weeks into that, I started getting better.

“I went to therapy because my mom and sister insisted. And, eventually, I came out of the end of the tunnel as a better individual and a happier person. So that definitely brought me and my sister close, because she can actually see on my face if something’s wrong or not.”

Isabella Cangelosi, sophomore in LAS

“My childhood best friend is Jackie Fiandaca. While I didn’t know her when I was very young, I met her in sixth grade. I was someone who was bullied and had no one to sit with on a field trip and she asked me to sit by her. She listened to me and talked with me and was always so genuine.

“Jackie has been my friend ever since, (and) we’re even roommates at UIUC (this is our sophomore year)! Jackie has stuck with me and helped me through so many huge issues in my life and I couldn’t ask for a better best friend. I wish I could pay her back for all she’s done with me, but with all she’s done for me, basically saving my life, I don’t even know where to start.

“Thank you, Jackie! I love you, my sister!”

(Edited for AP Style)

Margaret Mosher, freshman in Parkland Pathways

“My childhood best friend is my neighbor Emily … she’s a person I do everything with when I’m at home. I’ve never met somebody as intelligent and understanding as her.

“Our moms had our older brothers on the same day. We knew each other in high school and we ended up living two doors down from each other (in college). And we were best friends all of our childhood.

“One of my favorite memories with her is when we were little, we would go into my mom’s closet and try on all of her clothes and we’d do little fashion shows with my sister. And it’s been really fun growing up, living pretty much next to somebody who I call my best friend.”


Talia is a freshman in Media.

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