“This is Oliver James Nickel. I am his mom and these are his aunts.” — Sarah Nickel
Sarah Nickel (above), Kylie Lynch and Kiana Olmstead were enjoying one of their last days in Rivers Green on a warm day in mid April.
All seniors graduating in May, the women chatted about their lives and dreams for the future.
Nickel is majoring in supply chain management and plans to go to graduate school at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. She wants to pursue a career in luxury and fashion management.
Lynch is majoring in international business and is going to graduate school in Dublin, Ireland, where her family is from. She hopes to work in public relations for a large company or firm in Los Angeles.
Olmstead is also studying international business and plans to get work experience but may go back to school in a few years. She hopes her job will allow her to travel and possibly open doors to involvement with a non-profit.
All the while, a fourth member of the group’s picturesque afternoon on campus — a piglet named Oliver — was fast asleep at their feet. Oliver has become a common sight on campus and was also spotted in the Cistern Yard earlier this spring.
“I’ve wanted a pig my entire life,” Nickel says. “This is literally a dream come true. Kiana surprised me with him.”
Olmstead’s father also has a miniature pig, so she says she “kind of understands what Oliver is going through at this stage and how he thinks.”
Despite his diminutive stature, Oliver could grow to be as smart as a four-year-old human and can express emotions.
“I gave him a bath the other day and he hated it so much that he literally pouted for fifteen minutes after I got him out,” Nickel says. “He wouldn’t cuddle or listen to me. He’s a mixture between a puppy and a baby.”
Oliver — only a month old — fits in Sarah’s arms like an infant. But Oliver isn’t alone at the three friends’ apartment; they also have two cats.
Nickel, Lynch and Olmstead met through club lacrosse at the College and have been inseparable since. With commencement rapidly approaching, the girls reminisce on the last four years at the College.
“We’re definitely excited to graduate,” Olmstead says.
Lynch interjects, “Bittersweet is the way to explain it.”
“We were freaking out at the beginning of the semester,” Nickel adds. “It’s hard to be in the moment of enjoying our last semester while also looking forward to the future. It’ll be sad to be leaving each other but we will definitely remain close.”
Lynch jokes, “I mean, I’ll only talk to Sarah because she has Oliver now.”
Oliver may not like it, but the friends plan to put him in a maroon bowtie for commencement. Although they are going separate ways, Nickel, Olmstead and Lynch are determined to stay connected and follow each other as they embark on their journeys.
“We are going to be lifelong friends,” they all agree.
If you’re interested in following Oliver’s adventures, follow him on Instagram.
Featured image of Nickel with Oliver the pig in the Cistern Yard by Reese Moore
Lauren Vega is a first-year student from Huntington, West Virginia, studying arts management and international studies in the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also a National Merit Scholar, a scholar in the International Studies Program, and a 200-hour registered yoga teacher.