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‘My Lifeline’: Meet #NCState21 Best Friends Marissa and Victoria

In a time of uncertainty, these 2020 grads leaned on one another as they transitioned to grad school.

Victoria Gervasi gives Marissa Martin a piggyback ride at Governors Scott Courtyard on NC State's campus. Play Video

They graduated from NC State in May 2020. As their closest friends left NC State and the world entered another month of lockdown, Marissa Martin and Victoria Gervasi looked to one another for support as they began the Jenkins Master of Accounting (MAC) program.

“I think it made us closer faster,” Victoria said. “She was like my lifeline, like, this entire time.”

The weekly phone calls became almost daily. Victoria reminds Marissa to drink enough water. Marissa checks in with Victoria to make sure she submitted her homework. In a year riddled with uncertainty, they always had each other’s backs, and their relationship quickly grew from study buddies to best friends.

“Coming out of quarantine and all these things, I just wasn’t really, I suppose, expecting to connect with people in the program as deeply as I had maybe people I’d met in undergrad,” Marissa said. “And so I think that made our friendship so much more of a special thing.”

The transition from undergrad to grad school wasn’t always easy, and they are quick to credit one another with helping them make it through this year.

“She’s always there with this perpetual optimism,” Victoria said. “Sometimes it’s sarcasm, I think, but she’ll say, ‘No, we’re going to get through it, it’s going to be great.’ And I actually start to believe her sometimes.”

As Victoria and Marissa describe each other, there’s one word that keeps coming up: Grace.

“I think that’s one of my favorite things about Victoria is just you’re so bold in so many ways, but you’re always super graceful about it,” Marissa said. “And I think that’s a really hard line to walk, but you always do it really well.”

“You’re very driven by fierce loyalty, integrity and you just do life with grace,” Victoria echoed.

As they prepare to start their careers — Marissa at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Raleigh and Victoria at Ernst & Young in Charlotte — they’re cherishing their last few weeks on campus.

“Friendship with Victoria has definitely, and I think I’ve said this to you before, but it’s definitely taught me how quickly new friends can begin to feel like old friends,” Marissa said. “Gosh, there’s no one better.”

“She is one of the best friends I have ever been fortunate enough to make,” Victoria said. “Ever.”

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