As I come towards the final semester of my undergraduate degree, I look at how different my life is since I’ve arrived here. My perspectives on certain things have evolved into ideas that I could never have imagined. Everyone talks about how your life is just beginning when you begin college. Your whole world is about to be open up. And I don’t know how you wouldn’t feel that way after you finished your degree. And I can’t help but think about how I feel about friendships now and how truly important they are.
I’ve seen friendships come together, fall apart and get put back together. In pop culture, we’ve perhaps put a much more important emphasis on romantic relationships and seeing their growth and evolution. I think anyone who watched Gossip Girl, for instance, was so much more interested in the romantic relationships in that show than any of the friendships. The main friendship itself, of the socialites Serena Van Der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf, didn’t seem great to begin with. They constantly fell out, bickered and were terrible for being there for each other on countless occasion. The extent of Serena and Blair’s nicknames was the first letter of their first name for God’s sake.
I think we all came to college with grand romanticisations of what it would be like. For instance, I thought I would enter my politics lecture and witness a gorgeous boy with floppy brown hair and circular talk so passionately about some injustice (I didn’t care which one) and then our eyes would meet and he would know we were kindred souls and fall in love and spend time our time together reading the Guardian. I’m going to shock you all by saying, nothing anywhere close to that happened to me. But we also come with the romanticisation’s that we will meet our friends within the first second of entering campus. And that doesn’t happen for a lot of us. I really struggled with making friends when I originally came to UCD. It was so much easier for me to hang around and go out with people from where I was from then to put myself out there. Also, at the time, all I did was go out, get drunk and rock up to Lecture L hungover and be anti-social until the evening time when I would do it all over again. It wasn’t until the second year that I actually went to events where I didn’t know everyone and where the main activity wasn’t drinking that I made friends that stuck and I realised how much I was missing out on.
I already had my best friends from home who are friends I can call any time of the night and they would listen to my blubber. But it was important to me to make other connections, to have another outlet. And I’m so happy I did because I wouldn’t have met these amazing women who not only made me laugh and were so confident and made me think about things I had never given much thought to.
The sacred practice that is the girl’s group chat is something I hope everyone women in this university has felt the honour of being in. Not all are equal. Some make you feel uneasy, scared and like you can’t be yourself. But when you find the group chat for you, that’s a group chat for life. Where you can talk about anything and everything. In one group chat I’m in, we confessed to each other how we love that we talk about climate change, sex and the Jordyn Wood’s scandal in one place. It’s a place where if you want honest opinions on your clothes while shopping you will get, on throwing all your morals out the window to have sex with a hot boy is given the green light to a helpful ear on family drama is only a voice note away.
I also used to think that, no matter what, you would always have some friends. And that is just not the case. I’m so lucky, my best friend Amie is my other half. We are basically married. We read each other’s thoughts, we can convey a whole conversation in a whole look and we really finish each other’s sentences. Yes, you can tell me a secret but it’s a given to everyone that I’m going to tell Amie it as well also. We know each’s faults and weird quirks and will drop everything to be with the other if they are having an emergency. We could talk for hours and still feel we missed something. We are the only ones that find each other funny and could laugh for hours at the other one’s joke. I’ve known her for 10 years and I cannot imagine my life without her. It’s not until other friends say to me how they wish that they have we have that I remember this type of friendship and love isn’t a given.
Maybe if you were lucky, you met the love of your life in college. I think with 4 weeks till the end of the semester, I can say I didn’t meet mine. Instead, I got something so much better. I met wonderful friends who make me laugh until it’s hard to breathe, talk about sex in public spaces where they really shouldn’t and care deeply about many various things. I also maintained friendships with people I know are truly forever. Friendships take love, effort and hard work. They don’t just come around every day. Think of many people you’ve met in your life and how only a few have made the impact they have on your life. You realise in college, who are your friends by circumstances and who are the friends willing to listen to an 8-minute voice note. And for that, I will dedicate this article to all the wonderful people I consider friends. I may not have met my woke boy yet, but I have met you instead and that’s way better.
By Ailbhe Longmore – Arts & Lifestyle Editor