This isn’t the usual type of article that one would see on The Experience. I feel that it would be wrong, however, not to pay homage to Anique on a forum that he helped create and mold.
Anique Ashraf, class of 2017, died this week after being struck by a vehicle in front of the college entrance. Anique was a fellow blogger and one of the first people I met here at Conn.
When I first came to college, I was not in a very good place. The excitement I’d felt in the summer turned to terror. I didn’t even understand why I was so afraid. The only person I found myself being able to talk to was the director (at the time) of The Experience blog, Andrew, who was aware of my adjustment issues. One day, I managed to get out of my room to attend one of the orientation events. I saw Andrew across the room and he motioned me over. He pointed to someone a few feet away and said, “That’s Anique. He’s a good person to know. He’ll be working on the blog with you. You’ll like him.” Andrew then motioned Anique over, and he introduced us.
Anique was quiet when we met--maybe the only time he’s ever been quiet. At the time, his hair was naturally colored, and he wasn’t wearing anything that struck me as unusual. His hair was not yet purple, or green, or blue, and he certainly wasn’t wearing any of his signature short-shorts, which showed off his prized body part: his sculpted calves. I thought it odd that Andrew had put such an emphasis on us meeting. I thought that maybe it was out of pity, and Andrew was just introducing me to anyone in order to get me to socialize more.
I don’t remember the process of getting to know Anique. I wish I did. I remember meeting him, and then I remember knowing him. He was loud, and honest, and funny. If everyone in the room was thinking something, he’d be the one to say it. If there was a weird silence, he’d be the one to break it--probably with a somewhat crude joke. He was unafraid, and he wore his fearlessness on his sleeve.
Just this past weekend, I saw Anique at a party. He and his friends were standing in front of the doorway to Earth House, an independent living house, when my friends walked up, and Anique said, “Clear the way, these are good people!” Later that night, Anique and I stood alone in the kitchen while others were in the living room, sitting around listening to a private concert from a Conn alum, Connor Storms. Anique snuck a piece of popcorn from an open bag on the counter, and then gave a piece to me. I asked if we were allowed to eat the popcorn, and Anique paraphrased the cliché about how what people don’t know won’t hurt them. A friend of mine then met us in the kitchen, and eventually said friend and I left to go to the student center. We bid Anique a good night, and he bid us the same. I think that that might have been the last time I talked to him personally.
Now, I sit here, writing this, and mourning Anique. It’s shocking, and scary, and I don’t know how to think of his death in an unselfish way. I don’t really know if anyone knows what to do, or how to think. I’d feel guilty if I just went back to life as usual.
You were boisterous and extreme. I’m timid and careful. You probably should have found me boring, but you didn’t. I’m glad you didn’t. It was a pleasure knowing you. I’m sorry that I couldn’t have known you longer, and I wish that we had met up on Halloween to take a group picture of the bloggers. I would’ve liked to have a picture with you. I’m sorry you won’t be able to travel like you wanted to. I’m glad you’ve had the experiences you have, though. You’ve certainly had adventures, I think in part because you purposely sought out your adventures.
Maybe making death into a lesson in life is just a coping mechanism--I mean, I’m sure it is--but I think there are lessons to be had here. We can take lessons both from Anique himself, and from his loss.
Find humor in life, as Anique did.
Be open and courageous, as Anique was.
Strive to follow those things that make you the happiest, as Anique would have.
Look at the big picture. Listen to all of the cliché sayings about telling people you love them and what not. As they say, life is short. Do what you can for others. Do what you can for yourself. Never take for granted the time you’ve been given, or the time that those around you have been given. We are living, and it would be an insult to those who are not if we did not use that life.
Rest in peace, Anique. You’re simply on to your next big adventure.