University is a strange time because we live in such a bubble. It’s a strange isolation from the real world that will never be replicated at any other time in your life. Time seems to go at a different speed to the rest of the world – slow and quick all at the same time. Whenever it’s Friday, you can’t help but think to yourself, ‘how can it be already Friday and finally Friday at the same time?’, and this happens most Fridays in the academic year.
But anyway, the focus of this blog post is friendships at uni. In no particular order, here are some nuggets of ‘wisdom’ I’ve acquired over my 6 (!!!) years of university (‘wisdom’ in quotation marks because you can choose to agree or disagree with me).
People always say university is the best time of your life, and I think a large part of that is thanks to the friendships you build. You really do make the friends who are going to be in your life for the rest of your life. The connections are so unlike any connections you’ve made before and ever will make, because you’ve experienced the university bubble together. You’ve seen each other at your absolute worst and absolute best.
After meeting a lot of people (which can be overwhelming) and testing out your compatibility with them, or even after you’ve been friends with people for a while, you realise that it’s okay to distance yourself from toxicity and uncomfortableness. You’re not entitled to keep the friends you have if they don’t make you feel good about yourself, or you can fell yourself changing in ways you don’t like, or it’s one-sided and they’re not making an effort (it takes two to tango, people!), or you’re not gaining anything from the relationship with this person/group of people.
Because of physical distance, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll lose friends from school and that’s also okay. People come and go in your life, and distance is not an unreasonable cause for that to happen. Don’t forget that the people who want to maintain connections with you will still be there regardless of distance or how much time has passed since you last saw each other. Whether you make plans to see them once a year or once every few years, it doesn’t matter because you know that neither of you are going anywhere.
Relatedly, you meet people from all over the world, and these are people who you never would have met if you hadn’t come to the same university. And in getting to know them better, you both realise how much you have in common and what a connection you have and you think, ‘how lucky am I that I’ve met this person because we both made the decision to come to this particular university at this particular time?‘. These are the kinds of thoughts that send me into an existential spiral, but these are moments when I can’t help but marvel at existence and life and coincidence and the world. I’m just in awe – excuse me while I go and have an(other) existential crisis.