Friendships, new and old
A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me that several studies had found that nostalgia was the most debilitating emotion that someone can feel. Now, I don’t know how researchers tested for nostalgia — are there needles involved? — but I would probably agree with that statement. Last weekend’s Homecomings festivities really brought it home to me.
The throngs of young alumni that congregated on the Lawn hugged, laughed and just enjoyed the company of friends — old and new — made me think about their relationships. Some of those alumni were two or three years out of school, and it felt like they had never left.
Their palpable excitement made me want to relive moments that were so special to me. I decided to look through some old photos. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if that is the case, then I could have a freaking novel with the photos to which I have a personal attachment. I started searching through my Facebook pictures, going all the way back to the obligatory braces pictures, awkward school dance pictures and some pictures I could only find on Myspace — remember when that was a thing?
I looked at photos because I had nothing better to do — other than study for midterms and write a paper — and I was tired of watching the TV show “Breaking Amish.” This sudden flash of sentimentality got me looking back at some funny moments in my life, but better yet, I was reminded of all the friendships I’ve made in my life.
I think most people are so wrapped up in the daily grind that they sometimes forget about those people who have been there for them through thick and thin and everything else in between. We should appreciate our friends who are close to us, but make sure we continue those bonds with those who have moved on to the place no college student wants to go to — the ever-terrifying “real world.”
Of course, it’s never a good idea to force friendships that aren’t there anymore, whether it be your first-year roommate or your teammate. Even though it may be difficult to accept, not all relationships are meant to last. Just appreciate the times that you spent together and move on.
But when that happens, don’t be afraid to go out and meet new people and make new friends. You never know, the stranger sitting next to you right now in class, while you read this article, may be the person who will pat you on the back while you’re hunched over the toilet at the end of that crazy party or even the person standing next you at the altar.
At the beginning of this year, I told myself that I was going to keep myself open to new friendships even though it is my last year, and as luck would have it, I made one. He is one of the coolest kids that I’ve met in a while, and he is only a first year.
In the grand scheme of things, we are all just another piece of a really big puzzle, but as my aunt has always told me, friendship is the most important ingredient to life. Friends are like your second family, so keep them close.
Al’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.