Friendships at university
As a was thinking what I should write the next post about, I get a message saying “Miss my Romanian friend”. As I was answering it, the imaginary light bulb above my head turned on: friends, let’s talk about friends…friends and friendships at university.
We all hear those great personal stories and advertisements saying: “I’ve made so many friends at university; university is the place where you’ll get friends with so many people; I’m so good friends with my flat” and so it goes. The process of forming friendships is so shallowly talked about that it seems an easy thing to achieve and, implicitly a failure or an issue in your personality if you don’t achieve your “friends target” some short time after the beginning of your university life. Because of the easiness of talking about making friends at university, I came to uni with very high expectations that the socializing part shall be no problem and, inevitably, I got deceived and disappointed when my expectations were not fully met.
So here it is a more accurate story of making friends, which starts from 0 – where the “0” stands for “I didn’t know absolutely anyone when I came to Warwick”. If I scared you off already, just keep reading, because it’s a happy ending story.
As I said in many on my other posts, there is indeed the socializing mania at the beginning of first year where you find yourself interacting with lots and lots of students whose names you won’t probably remember and who you’ll later see around campus asking yourself: where do I know this guy from? It’s a nice feeling, it’s exciting, it’s a fresh, it’s the atmosphere you see in teen movies but it’s also not an accurate image for the picture of making friends.
Having finished year 2, I counted my friends…and by that, I mean, the people I would call at 3AM if I needed help. It didn’t take me long as the count didn’t go much further than around 4. Sure, there are people I like going out with, people which is fun to catch up with, people I go for a quick a coffee with, team mates from Volleyball, course mates I spend most of my time with in class and so on. What makes the difference between them and those 4 others is what I allow them to know about myself that most of the others don’t and vice-versa. This, in turn, becomes a sign of trust. In Volleyball, for instance, our captain once said: “We’ll spend a lot of time together this tear, we might as well do it as friends.” We are indeed an amazing group, cheering each other up in games, texting each other when we get home safely after a night out, getting breakfast after training and simply enjoying each other’s presence. But now, if I am to tell you what I truly know about them as individuals, I won’t be able to give you a very good description. Out of around 50 members that are in the club, there is ONE, only one, that I truly call friend and which I’m 100% confident I’ll keep in touch after university. And don’t think it’ll be easy. Finland is not really a stone’s throw away from Romania and it’s easy for the friendship to get cold, but right now I have such a positive feeling about it.
As in every post: the moral of the story: do use the word “friend” wisely and have patience to grow and nurture your friendships. There is a Romanian proverb that goes perfectly here: if you want to catch more rabbits at once, you may end up catching none. Focus on the rabbits you see friendship potential in so that, at the end of your university experience, you’ll have a much more rewarding feeling knowing there is a handful of people you want to knock on their door and care about after university.