37: More than a Medical Kit

37: More than a Medical Kit

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles

More than a Medical Kit

Luck can often mean simply taking advantage of a situation at the right moment. It is possible to “make” your luck by always being prepared.

~Michael Korda

“Anybody have a bandage?” a voice echoed down the dorm hallway.

It was our first week at college and we were all experiencing “forgot-it-itis.” I had neglected to bring snacks for late-night munchies. Some poor girl on the wing had apparently forgotten bandages. We all felt a little displaced.

Several months before, I sat at my high school graduation party admiring my gifts and battling waves of post-high school sentimentality. The usual and beloved inspirational books were scattered around my feet, silently proclaiming the wealth of wisdom they wished to share. A small pile of personal checks lay nearby. Laundry items, desk supplies, sewing miscellany — all well-intentioned and well-received. They would demonstrate their givers’ thoughtfulness over and over during my college career.

But one gift struck me as strange. I frowned when I opened it. Medicine? A small packet of pills and creams, ointments and lozenges lay within the wrappings. Who would give that as a gift?

“You’ll need that once you’re at school,” Mom pointed out. “You won’t have to chase down the campus nurse for every cough.”

Good point.

Not long after, in August, I packed my life into a borrowed truck and slipped the bag of medicine in with my toiletries. I barely thought about it once I reached campus, caught in the whirlwind of unpacking, book-buying, scheduling and meeting new friends.

When “anybody have a bandage?” rang out in the dormitory hall that day, I remembered my little medicinal package.

I swallowed self-consciously. “Actually,” I gave a little wave, “I have one.”

“Great,” my new wing-mate chimed.

As I dug out the kit, we began to chat.

Soon, many of the other girls on the wing heard of my little kit and paid me a visit. One had bug bites — anti-itch cream popped out of my supply. The wing-mate with the headache nearly kissed my hands when I passed her simple painkillers. As cold season approached, many needed cough drops. Each girl stayed to chat for a few moments.

The little gift I had questioned now led me toward new friendships. As it broke fevers, it also broke the ice, allowing me to meet and befriend many on the wing.

Gradually, the others purchased their own supplies and my kit rarely left the closet.

Eventually, I graduated and threw the dangerously outdated bottles into the garbage, along with stacks of papers and trash — all items now unnecessary. I began my adult life, forgetting the simple medical kit and how it helped me befriend others.

Then one day, I received a party invitation. A young friend was graduating from high school. “Come celebrate with Sarah!” read the cheerful type. Memories of my own party rushed back to me, and I smiled at the opportunity presenting itself.

As I drove to the pharmacy, I knew exactly what gift I would give her. The chance to be a friend.

~Jaclyn S. Miller

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