Remember the scattering that would take place as soon as the lunch bell went off in high school as people scrambled to find a place to sit in their respective cliques in the crowded cafeteria? There would be serious gymnastics taking place, squeezing into rows of tightly-placed chairs, hoping you managed to find a seat next to your best friend. Being part of a clique meant that you aimed to do everything with your friends. Sitting together in class, spending time together on the weekends at the cinema or mall on weekends. You even pick the same after-school activities your friends are doing, regardless of your preferences, so that you’ll get to hang for a whole hour after school.
But, you are no longer in school. Welcome to the strange world of university! It may come as a welcome surprise that at university friendships do not work this way. Of course, there are friends groups but people do not shy away from straying away from these. People make more of an effort to transcend friendship groups and get to know more people. Unlike at school, course and age ceases to be a barrier. Societies stand as a great way to meet people, and being on executive teams stand as a great way to meet people as you have a shared responsibility. Friendships that arise from societies as they are based on a common interest rather than just being close in proximity. Moreover, instead of having a single group that does everything together, people usually have a variety of friendship groups such as course friends, friends from accommodation and friendships made through societies.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself knocking on your friend’s door at 4am because you’re a teary homesick mess
Another thing that one fails to appreciate as a fresher is just how quickly you become so close to someone you live with. Whether you bond over geese watching at Lakeside or the long dreary walks to central campus from Sherbourne, in the short span of one year, you will come to regard your accommodation friends as family. Friendship occurs at an accelerated time frame. While it may have taken you six months to open up and cry unashamedly into the shoulder of your high school best friend, at university, don’t be surprised to find yourself knocking on your friend’s door at 4am because you’re a teary homesick mess. Surviving together through the turmoil of student accommodation will bond you together in a way that is incomparable to other friendships.
That is not to say that school friends aren’t great. What would you have to look forward to when you go home otherwise? I, for one, cannot contain my excitement when the plane finally lands at Mumbai airport after 9 hours of uncomfortable anticipation. Nothing can rival the sense of comfort you get being around people you’ve spent the better part of your day with for five to six years of your life. In the end, I think school friends and university friends both, in their own unique ways, bring something much needed to the table.