Sunday, July 25, 2010
The Grad Life & The Meaning of Friendship
So let me share a sweet little story with all of you. In Grade 2, my teacher introduced a new girl to the class. She had just moved to the neighbourhood and knew absolutely no one. Naturally, our tiny heads swivelled to check out the new girl decked out in 90's style floral leggings (don't lie, girls. you know you had a pair), t-shirt, and ponytail. As we headed to recess, I took my snack baggy full of cheezy Doritos outside and I noticed the New Girl sitting by herself. I headed over to offer her some of my Doritos (I was so excited, my mother NEVER bought chips when I was younger, and this was a rare treat!). She seemed relieved that someone was talking to her, and we played on the see-saw the rest of recess. I found out that New Girl liked the same books and TV shows I did, and we quickly bonded over a fervent discussion about DJ's breakup with Steve Hale (See: Full House, Season 7, Episode 19). New Girl quickly became one of my best friends. And to this day, throughout elementary, middle school, high school, and university, she has still remained an incredibly awesome, close friend who I will always treasure and value. Seriously, all because of that bag of Doritos! ;)
These days, we're a little too old to make friends by offering snacks from the baggies our mothers packed for us. As we go through life as 20-somethings, I highly doubt that a mere bag of Doritos will now do the trick to foster a lifelong friendship.
I'm sure all of us in our twenties and late teens have noticed that as we grow older, it gets harder and harder to meet and make close friends, simply because we don't have as much time. If you're in the working world, you work a 9 am - 5:00 pm job, head home, eat dinner, and sleep for 5 days a week. On the weekends and Friday nights, you hang out with the same group of friends who you've known for ages. If you're still in school, your life consists of studying, class, potentially a part-time job, and hanging out with the same group of people you've known since high school or the small clique you formed during your frosh year.
But grad school is full of older students in their early to mid twenties. We aren't frosh anymore. We're older, a tad bit wiser, and have a bit more life experience than we did when we entered university as wide-eyed 18-year olds. I have no idea how the social setting will be in September as I join the ranks of grad students in Kingston. But I do know that while I look forward to making new friends, I also won't forget the ones I have.
Seriously, Barney knew what he was talking about. The lessons that purple dinosaur taught us were true: as we get older, we learn to appreciate the friendships we've made and maintained over the years, from middle school, high school or university. And so wherever we're at in life, I think we should always remember this: cherish, treasure, and keep in touch with the close friends you've made. Wherever you are and wherever you're off to in September, don't forget how valuable these people are to you. They know you inside and out and value you just as you treasure them.
And when we're old and gray, we'll think back and have each other to thank for all the essays we helped each other edit, all the the all-nighters we went through together in high school and university, all the trips we took together (overseas or otherwise. Eurotrip 2010, holler), all the in-depth discussions we had about our potential careers, all the shopping trips we went on where we spent way more than we should have. We'll have each other to thank for the boyfriends we're not married to, all the random road trips we've taken to take a break from school (Buffalo!! Stratford!!), all the impromptu dinners/lunches/coffee dates, and all the moments that, put together, have created a friendship that will last despite distance and changing lifestyles.
We're at an age and point in life where things change ever so quickly. But, if you so choose, there will always be one thing that never changes: your groups of friends who will never fail you, who will always stand with you to celebrate your achievements and successes, and who will always be there, for the rest of your lifetime.
"There is nothing more important than friendships that endure, especially in a world that insists on changing."
- Desperate Housewives