Before I began my post-secondary education, I had heard that university years were going to be the time of my life and the friendships I make in university would contribute to my experiences even more than I could imagine. I had always enjoyed having deep and reflective conversations with my peers; investing in my relationships; and growing with those around me, but the transition from high school to university was a big change. That’s why I was extraordinarily excited about what my perspective on relationships and life would be in university.
The interesting thing about my first year was that my schedule did not completely match with any of my friends whom I had known from high school. Hence, I had to push myself to meet new people and make friends, especially in classes where I did not know anyone. Honestly, it was a very challenging task—like it would be for any introvert. I was not as driven to meet new people in the beginning; however, soon, I started to feel isolated in university. I realized I could not get through university without having a support system. To establish my own support system, I had to step outside my comfort zone and meet new people. I had to experience the awkwardness of the first conversation. I had to take out time from my schedule to build relationships. After I joined a mentorship program on-campus, my mentor advised me to take complete advantage of my small classes and events on-campus to meet new people. I followed their advice, and attended a scholarship reception ceremony that I was invited to. After a few awkward attempts at meeting new students, I met a group of students at the dinner table. Our mutual love for samosas gave our conversation a quick start. After comparing our schedules, we realized we were in similar classes for the most part, and that was the beginning of our friendship. That day, samosas helped me find my best friends!
Over the years, I have learned the value of having a healthy support system. In the rush of trying to achieve our goals, we often forget to appreciate those who stood by our side no matter the circumstances. We forget to thank them for those 2:00 AM conversations when they listened to us complain about our problems. There were a lot of times when I was going through mental distress during university, and was losing confidence in myself. I wanted to give up on everything, but my support system made me appreciate how much I had accomplished and how far I had come. My friends kept me grounded and helped me reflect on my achievements and failures. They made me laugh with their science puns when I was overwhelmed with my courses. They pushed me to raise my own standards, and to aim higher.
Now that I am in my senior year, I sometimes wonder if I will be able to stay in touch with all of them after graduation. Will my university friends actually be my friends for life? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who have greatly contributed to my journey, and supported me when I was at my weakest. I feel so grateful to have met such kind-hearted, supportive, open-minded and caring people over the past years. Here’s to all the memories we have made and the things we have accomplished together!
I believe it is very important to reflect on your journey, and acknowledge those who have been with you all along. Thank your friends, family and supporters today and let them know how much they mean to you!