There for Each Other
There for Each Other
If Maria Ordoñez and Manon Michel had not decided to become resident assistants before their junior year, it’s unlikely they would ever have met. Ordoñez, who was born in Bogota, Colombia, and grew up in Miami, was enrolled in the Questrom School of Business, studying marketing and organizational behavior. Manon, who grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., was enrolled in the College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts, majoring in printmaking.
But Ordoñez (Questrom’21) and Michel (CFA’21,’22) bonded the first day of RA training and got to know each other that summer. After they became Claflin Hall RAs—Ordoñez on the 11th floor, Michel on the 9th—they continued to run into each other and would hang out with other RAs once in a while. But it wasn’t until a production of The Vagina Monologues, staged by VAGMO+ in January 2020 that the two became close friends. Ordoñez had done a lot of theater in high school, but hadn’t acted in college and was nervous about auditioning. Michel, who had never acted at all, was even more nervous. But the two were able to share support and encouragement, running lines together every night during rehearsal, and their friendship deepened.
“Manon is the kindest, most generous person I’ve ever met,” Ordoñez says. “She lights up any room she’s in, and she’s not afraid to be goofy and quirky and make people laugh. I think she really sees me for who I am.”
“I think we complement each other,” Michel says. “I’m more of an extrovert, Maria’s more of an introvert. She’s an incredible listener. She makes sure everything you say is heard.”
When the pandemic struck in March 2020, abruptly sending students home to learn remotely, Ordoñez returned to Miami and Michel to her hometown of Tolland, Conn. But they texted and called every couple of days, each checking in to see how the other was doing. “We were there for each other 100 percent,” says Michel. Their regular check-ins helped both deal with the anxiety they felt during the early days of the pandemic. “We were able to be honest with each other about what we felt,” she says.
When the two returned to campus and their Claflin RA positions two floors apart this past fall, they were once again hanging out in their spare time, crafting and pursuing their passion for fashion by visiting local thrift stores. In February, they hatched a plan to wear a different Valentine’s Day outfit for a week, posting photos on their Instagram accounts.
The friends say they’ve watched each other grow in the past year. “Since I have known her, Maria has stepped into this leadership role and into the person who is able to be a rock for everyone,” Michel says. “She’s this shimmering personality that everyone gravitates towards…She’s someone you can turn to in any moment.”
“I’ve seen her come into her own strength,” Ordoñez says of Michel.
While Commencement is a time of goodbyes for many friends, Ordoñez and Michel don’t have to worry about that. Right after graduation, they’ll be moving to an apartment building in Allston, where they’ll live one floor apart. Ordoñez just accepted a position in Philips Global Development program, where she’ll concentrate on the ultrasound market, while Michel will remain at BU for another year, working on a master’s in art education.
“I can’t wait to see how many other lives she changes,” Ordoñez says of her friend.