story | Justin Ong, Managing Editor

photo | Justin Ong and Raeden Richardson

Some time back, The Octant did a handful of suite profiles, venturing into living spaces to have an in-depth look into the lives of students and staff. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking into the friendships formed in Yale-NUS College: the inseparable, the unexpected, and everything in between. This week we feature Zach Mahon ’17 and Raeden Richardson ’17, a senior duo who could not stop insulting each other.

What we found went something like this:

How did you guys first meet?

Raeden: So back in Berkeley College during orientation at New Haven, I remember seeing Zach trying to play basketball, so I had to go down and teach him how to play. I had to teach him how to shoot; his shot wasn’t very good. He was pretty shy on the basketball court when we first met but […] Zach’s been good, he learns quickly and I think our friendship’s been sort of me teaching him a lot of things.

Zach: The first time I saw Raeden I thought he was a total prick.

R: ‘Cos I was sinking threes and he wasn’t.

Z: He just gave off this, like, vibe and it didn’t really vibe with me. But then he was tempted by my prowess on the basketball court and that brought him closer to me, naturally. Once he stepped on the court, I taught him a few things: how to run, how to jump, how to breathe while running. And that led him to be the fine athletic specimen he is today. I think it just kind of goes to show how your perceptions of someone can change so drastically if you just talk to them. We often make judgments based on appearance or a quick first impression.

R: Or lack of ability.

Z: And I think it’s just important that we don’t listen to that all the time, because beautiful friendships can blossom.

Raeden and Zach during their pregame routines before the inaugural NYU-Shanghai vs Yale-NUS basketball match. Credits: K Swaminathan. 2014

Raeden and Zach during their pregame routines before the inaugural NYU-Shanghai vs Yale-NUS basketball match. Credits: K Swaminathan. 2014

What were some ways you helped each other out in times of need?

R: I remember, when Zach was applying for the Chinese Language Scholarship in the middle of sophomore year, he was pretty stressed, I was quite capable of making smoothies. I remember this one instance when Zach was freaking out. He had to have an entire interview in Chinese, [after] like, two semesters of Chinese or something like that, and I said to him “Just take care of your interview, I’ll take care of dinner.” But dinner was basically a smoothie. He’s also been very lonely, so I helped him get a girlfriend. That is very true.

So Raeden, what has Zach done for you?

Z: Nothing. It’s a one-sided relationship.

R: It’s a parasitic relationship.

Z: [laughs] I think we are very good at holding each other accountable [for the] things we want to accomplish. I think a lot of the time we spend together is just, like, hanging out, talking. Typically, it ends with me falling asleep on his bed.

R: It happens a lot.

Z: But really we just talk about the things that are happening in our lives, the things we hope to achieve now and in the future. This kind of intimate sharing really connects us and allows us to hold each other accountable to be people that we want to be.

Zach on site to witness Raeden's first ever snowfall. New York City, 2016.

Zach on site to witness Raeden’s first ever snowfall. New York City, 2016.

What is one thing you guys can’t stand about each other?

R: Where do I begin? I think Zach’s dress sense can use a bit of work.

Z: Sorry if you’re having trouble understanding Raeden, his Australian slang often makes his thoughts and feelings incoherent to the outside world.

R: Some might call it mysterious, complex.

Z: Others will say incomprehensible.

R: Nah, I love Zach’s dress sense. I learn a lot from him. We’ve talked about laundry together.

Z: Yeah, we talk about laundry. We do laundry together. Friends who do laundry together stay together, as they say.

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