College friendships: A match made in what?

Inayah Avant | Staff Writer

Flickr User Ellen Montgomery 

Growing up, I had the tendency to draw the unfair parallel between Sesame Street and real life, but more specifically, the relationships shared between the characters.

I now understand that Sesame Street served as a sort of childhood introduction to the ideal multicultural community.

A street where your neighbors are supportive yet push them to closely examine their own personal biases and boundaries.

Think about it: Oscar lived in low-income housing but was never ostracized because of his unique living conditions.

Big Bird was clearly an abnormally large, sometimes clumsy canary, but was never labeled as “other,” and no one ever questioned the validity of Bert and Ernie’s relationship.

As each episode ended, I found myself dreaming about living in a similar environment.

I am now aware that that just isn’t plausible. Well, not in the same capacity.

Friendships are tricky, fickle little chaps that can have extraordinary effects on us whether it be positive or negative.

College is a weird place. I think we have all safely established that. Now, adding friendships to the mix just makes it downright spooky at times. I mean some of us are coming from backgrounds where we are only children or are used to having siblings around at all times.

Sure, we all have friends from high school or sports teams, but here in college, it’s different.

At home, we saw our friends at school and chose whether or not to spend time with them on the weekends or whenever else.

We had more distinct lines distinguishing our interactions: family, close friends, acquaintances and people we could not (or cannot) get down with.

I was more maneuverable.

Here, that stuff is for the birds. In the span of months, complete strangers have turned into our most trusted confidants — walking diaries, if you will — friendships sown together at a quicker and shorter rate than compared to those at home.

And, at times, sown badly.

Let’s take it back to August when my fellow Ogres and I first arrived.

Everyone was open to meeting new people. It was normal to introduce yourself to random people in line for French fries or to start a conversation with someone living on your hall, but the switch-up is real.

As people become closer and “cliques” begin to form, it becomes harder and harder to open up to new people, especially if you’ve already been burned by one of the previously mentioned walking diaries (no shade!).

Here, I think, it’s harder to differentiate between those who have your best interest in mind and those who may not give two flying figs about you.

I would bet that a number of you reading this could also attest to that, but I have also learned that that is OK, too.

Instead of becoming upset about a friendship lost, think of it more as a lesson.

Ask yourself questions such as what you may have learned from that person about yourself.

Take it as a positive lesson rather than a negative. Oftentimes, strangers are the ones who teach us the most about ourselves.

As I continue to grow up, I have become considerably less naive in my understanding of people, and with that ever-growing knowledge, I can safely say that Sesame Street is a much better hypothetical utopia than some unattainable goal.

Friendships are difficult and messy at times but also astonishingly beautiful in others.

Jayla Poindexter, a first-year, five-year psychology major from Chesapeake, Virginia, was concise when asked about why friendships are necessary as well as difficult:

“Friendship, to me, is about loyalty and acceptance; it’s about loving someone through their faults,” Poinderxter said.

“ A hardship of friendship that I am still learning to navigate is that people are so different, and as a result, potential conflict could happen. (But) in true friendship, it’s good that you’re always there even though you may not agree with their decisions. It’s about supporting your person … depending on the situation.”

And with this, I leave you with a very simple yet eloquent quote from none other than our dearest and most trusted friend (I hope you’re picking up on the sarcasm here), Justin Bieber:

“Friends are the best to turn to when you’re having a rough day.”

That’s sort of what it all boils down to … right?


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