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This item originally appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

Backup -- everyone needs it when life gets hard and you don't have the sugar to make lemonade. There are times when you feel like you can't handle life on your own, and people enter your life at just the right time and exit when your head gets above water.

Backup can be a sorority sister, a football teammate or the cafeteria lady who serves the French fries.

My backups were two girls down the hall and two guys who taught me how to play Tekken, a street-fighting game on Playstation.

When I arrived at Tech my freshman year, I hated it. I hated the showers, the food and the fact that my boyfriend of almost two years broke my heart and then proceeded to drag it across Interstate 20.

Ashley and Ashley, or "the Ashleys," were there for me through every lonely night and every single time I thought I wasn't going to make it. I sat in their sea-foam-green room spilling my heart out and singing Tim McGraw songs at the top of my lungs.

I never wanted to leave their room, and they stayed up countless hours listening to all of my problems.

They made me laugh when I thought a smile was an impossible thing, and they told me even though I couldn't see it, I was going to be OK.

Brandon and Donald, however, had a different approach. They introduced me to the world of video games and emo music.

I had never known my fingers could get such a workout after two hours of pressing a tiny controller, and I soon knew all the words to "Screaming Infidelities."

Whenever I complained about being homesick they said, "Stop being a freshman." They always made sure I had someone to eat with and that I had something to do on the weekends, on the rare occasion I stayed at Tech.

As the months passed in my first year I didn't go to the Ashleys' room every day, and I had forgotten the secret moves that made me the Tekken champion.

I'm not sure when they took their cues to leave, but I do know they are the reason I am here and did not give up.

My second year at Tech, my roommate and I met Michelle in the hallway of our dorm.

She was a bright-eyed freshman, eager to make new friends. We welcomed her into our lives, and always included her in our plans. She came to our "Friends" parties every Thursday night, and she even went to the beach with us for Spring Break.

As the school year came to a close, our exit sign was blinking. Michelle had made new friends, and my roommate and I slowly started to spend less time with her.

When I see my old friends around campus I get a little sad because I don't know what's going on in their day-to-day life, but I hope they know how much they have helped me and how happy I am to have helped them.

It seems like people come into your life when you least expect, and when you look back on your relationship with them, you realize they were perfect for that amount of time you spent with them.

So, when you contemplate on a friendship that didn't stand the test of time, try not to think of what went wrong.

Instead, you should think of how much that person meant to you and how you changed their life in some way, as clichˇ as that may sound, because everyone needs a little backup now and then.

Jordan Marshall is a junior journalism major from Shreveport and serves as a news editor for The Tech Talk. E-mail comments to

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