It’s move-out day.
The various belongings that had once filled my dormitory and made up my living space are all but packed away in a bunch of bulging bags and a couple of congested containers. Without the plethora of posters, the endless stacks of textbooks and the assortment of clothes that had been sprawled across the floor for most of the year, the room is familiarly empty. As I give the room one last sweep and make my way out the door, I realize that the room looks exactly as it did on move-in day.
From the many late nights out in the city surrounded by new faces and new places, to the even later nights spent surrounded by highlighted pages and caffeinated beverages, the eight months that have passed since move-in day have been a refreshing whirlwind of extraordinary escapades and ardent adventures.
I think that the highlights of the year, though, are all the unique and sometimes atypical friendships that I formed with people that I likely wouldn’t have met if we hadn’t lived together in residence. I’ve found that, in high schools and in other scenarios, we often gravitate towards and spend time with the people who we share common interests with, and we only feel comfortable with those who have the same perspectives as us. In residence, however, you’re placed in a very diverse mélange of individuals, and you end up spending a lot of time with people who may come from very different places, have seemingly incompatible hobbies and generally seem to have a very different world-view than you.
In the last year, though, I’ve come to believe that we should try to meet people who we may believe we have absolutely nothing in common with and who appear to look at the world in a different way. For when we meet and build bonds with people who love and believe in different things and spend their time in very different places than us, we begin to try things we’ve never tried and go to places we’ve never been before.
I’ve come to believe that we should try to meet people who we may believe we have absolutely nothing in common with and who appear to look at the world in a different way.
When we only choose to spend time with individuals we believe are the same as us, we aren’t giving our minds a chance to truly grow. Robust relationships with diverse groups of people are relationships that allow us to learn and try new things, to develop broader perspectives and to see the world in a different light.
What’s also unique about friendships in residence is that they’re almost purely built upon face-to-face interactions. In a world that increasingly relies on social media as a form of communication, it’s been very satisfying getting to know people, not through abbreviated messages and emojis, but through many late-night laughs and face-to-face conversations.
I also think that social media often allows us to only share the best and most carefully selected aspects of our lives with many of our friends and the people we hang out with. You should never have to impress your friends with the well-lit, filtered photographs of yourself that you uploaded on Instagram or make yourself seem like a more interesting person with a distinctive Snapchat story. How can we truly get to know someone when we only portray a cautiously constructed part of ourselves to them? When we bond and get to know one another through face-to-face interactions, we begin to know each other, not for who we want people to think we are, but for who we REALLY are.
When we only choose to spend time with individuals we believe are the same as us, we aren’t giving our minds a chance to truly grow.
Your friends in residence probably know what you look like when you first wake up and can likely recognize that crazed look you have in your eyes the morning after a frantic frenzy of studying in the 24 hour library the night before a final. They’ve likely picked up on all your strange quirks and know all your weird dance moves and have likely listened to you rant about how your campus crush still hasn’t accepted your friend request. Your friends in residence have seen and possibly carried you (literally) when you’ve gone way past your limit during a night out on Whyte Avenue that was likely followed by a debatably necessary trip to Duke’s.
Our friends in residence have seen us when we’ve been deeply hurt and when we’ve felt as if the weight of the world was suddenly crashing down upon us. Our friends in residence have been there to support us and have been there to talk things through. And it is through these often late night conversations that we begin to understand that a lot of us may be going through the same things. It’s in these moments that we begin to understand that we’re really not that different from one another after all. These are real friendships that we should strive for and these are friendships that will continue to thrive long after we’ve returned our keys, packed our belongings into our cars and made the long journey home.
Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.