by Denise Alexander
In the immortal words of baseball great Yogi Berra, it was déjà vu all over again when two Marymount students arrived on campus as freshmen in fall 2007.
Laura Schaefer, a Politics major, and Victoria (Tory) Miller, a Communication major, grew up continents apart, but somehow the stars have aligned to connect them on more than one occasion.
Laura is a citizen of the world, having lived in such diverse places as China, Japan, Spain, and Tanzania, thanks to parents employed by the U.S. State Department. When she and her twin sister Alicia – also an MU student – were in 8th through 10th grade, their family lived in Hong Kong. It was there that Laura met Tory Miller.
Tory is a Florida native, whose father is a Disney executive. In her 9th grade year, she found herself living on the other side of the world while her dad was involved with the launch of Hong Kong Disneyland.
Laura and Tory met at the Hong Kong International School. Laura explains, “There was a constant coming and going of students. To help newcomers get acclimated, the school assigned a student ambassador to each incoming student. I was assigned to Tory, and we quickly became friends.” Tory takes up the story: “I’m shy at first, but Laura is a lot more outgoing. It was really nice for me to be able to open up and have her as a friend. We were in the same homeroom, and we hung out together on the weekends.”
But the Hong Kong sojourn was brief; Tory went home to Florida at the end of freshman year. While the girls kept in touch for a while, they eventually lost track of each other.
So imagine how surprised the two were when they logged into their old high school’s Facebook page and discovered that they had both chosen to attend Marymount University! They reconnected through MU’s Facebook page for admitted students and stayed in touch from that point on.
At Marymount, Laura and Tory ran into each other almost immediately. Tory remembers, “It was the first weekend, and we were in the Lee Center for an orientation event. I looked across the room, and there was Laura. She came running toward me and gave me a big hug. I knew nobody, so that made me feel a lot better. Our friendship just sparked again. We hung out together a lot during freshman year, and in sophomore year we were suitemates. Now, as juniors, we’re in a group of five best friends!”
Laura, who is more the “joiner” of the two, soon became involved with the Campus Ministry Association (CMA). She says without hesitation, “One hundred percent, being part of Campus Ministry has been my best experience at Marymount!”
Laura kept urging Tory to get involved with CMA activities and eventually she, too, joined. Today, both are committed members who participate in many Campus Ministry-sponsored activities, including the annual Alternative Spring Break service trips.
However, once again, the two have found themselves taking different geographic paths: Laura has chosen Banica in the Dominican Republic as her Alternative Spring Break destination each year, while Tory elected to do her service work in rural South Carolina.
As Laura Schaefer and Tory Miller talk about their plans for the future, it’s clear that both are infected by the travel bug. After graduation, Laura plans to spend a volunteer year in Banica, while Tory hopes to work abroad with an international company. This time, the two friends are planning to stay in touch, rather than waiting for the planets to align again and create a chance meeting in some far-flung corner of the world!