When the day of high school graduation came, I was sitting in my column. It seemed like someone just turned a stack of pages in our lives in a split second. Nobody took the time to read through each page thoroughly to embrace the moments we have had with teachers, friends or relatives. Then, there was the announcement of her name of one of the individuals nominated for being one of the school’s top academic students.
“Ari!” *Followed by applause*
She walked down the middle to the podium as her name was called. She was bright, smart and unique. She really must have been very excited, but I wasn’t. We had a troubling chapter before that day as like we haven’t communicated enough. We were in the same English Honors class, in the same room. We remain silent from each other. Did she not see something that was wrong? Did she not see how I was feeling?
When graduation ended, we lost contact with each other permanently, probably from getting a new phone number. My best friend now gone…
When first semester of college begun, I often decided I wasn’t ready or in the mood to conversant with one of my instructors in her office hour, befriend that individual who was so bright and focused in class or explore the campus. Thus, I missed a chance to share my thoughts with other human beings. I lost the opportunity to take every chance I had to interact with individuals. Eventually, it came to the finals and the end of the semester and it became too late to interact with the individuals in my classes as we all leave that classroom never to come back together as a whole. I was saddened.
As I was in a meeting or appointment with several of my instructors during both semesters (This present one included) and after calling the Agora Hotline Service and coming back from the Deans of Student counseling, all the administrators and volunteers stated dearly that they wanted everyone to be comfortable in speaking to them about any concerns we had. It was not like the stereotypical, mean gym teacher or principal shown in the media where they would act skeptical or tense the child who needed to speak about concerns or anxieties. Also included; portraying the majority of college students partying and behaving inadequately, which further separate us from each other with these false perceptions. Portraying this for entertainment and money brings a consequence of possible social anxiety and distorting in perception of the world. (Fortunately, we’re already showing those companies and those so-called celebrities who’s in charge by electing ideal adults, with a heart, into the office.)
But in the end, why are we hesitating to approach each other? I have been through all my classes, some with 180 students and some with 30 students. But nobody took the opportunity to interact with another individual to share their troubling thoughts, and soon finals will come and we won’t return to the same wagon of people we have been around for 4 straight months. Here, individuals keep waiting, ignoring each other and forgetting that we’re in the same room chirping like parakeets until we fly away for good. When did friendship become so hard to establish?
As I read articles, friendship seems hard to establish in college than in high school and before. In our youth, it might have been hard deciding up a list of whom to invite to our birthday parties. In our later years, such as in college, it seems students are very focused on their own problems. Completely understandable; there’s jobs requiring so many hours, not enough time for “beauty” sleep (Importantly, this really causes negative effects imaginable), financial concerns (including meal plans, dorms, groceries) and career planning. Here in college, we are told to “get involved.” However, it is becoming harder to do so with all these responsibilities listed above to make room for fostering new bridges to friendship.
But, I grow disappointed in individuals or false friends who claimed that they’re “busy.” I made time to ask a former classmate for her phone number. One night during first semester, I decided to call her.
She said, “Can I call you back later?”
A week later, she hasn’t called back. I texted her,
“You haven’t returned my call in a week.”
“Between work and school, I haven’t had time to talk. I’m sorry.”
When she says “I’m sorry,” I felt it was the same thing of using “lol (Shortcut for ‘laugh out loud’ from the texting culture)” in a text about writing a five paper essay, which I and most others don’t find particularly funny at all. I feel like she isn’t true to her words. I feel like I was the one participating in the friendship, something called One Sided Friendship. (Another article of similar nature can found here.)
Aside unacceptable degrees of citing busy as an excuse, a rather interesting article, Residential Mobility, Well-Being and Mortality claims that individuals who moved a lot during their childhood are more likely to suffer with social relationships. An individual will have already made a sizable amount of friends in her original vicinity, and then, for any reasons, moves to another state and is forced to “recreate social networks.” While this won’t have damaging effects with those who are extroverted, those who are introverted will have difficulty in a new, alien environment. I have had friends before who have moved from places to places during high school and even those who have moved to America for college. I can tell they were introverted due to lack of confidence when public speaking to the class, taking passive roles in group activities and often remain silent in the classroom. Still, I don’t want to judge individuals negatively and I want to lend a help. I just don’t know if they know I’m a friend worth befriending.
In the end, I still want to value friendship and encourage everyone to be more extroverted. Whenever friends come into our life, they open up a new world within us. Please take every moment to talk or call your friends about everything. Don’t wait. Don’t be silence. Don’t let there be another situation like mine where my friend and I didn’t bother approaching each other in the same room when something was wrong. The opportunity could be lost and we will never see each other and have the chance to make a contact. That’s why I’m asking for everyone to take every chance to come talk to anyone, professors, new friends or making up for old friends. Please don’t be afraid to approach anyone.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born” (Anais Nin).