How Your Friends Make You Who You Are
The first time I consciously remember making a friend was in first grade. We sat across from each other on the school bus and talked about our Neopets and Webkinz, and she lived just down the street. I remember tentatively asking her, “Will you be my friend?” She was a cool, grown-up fourth-grader, and she laughed and said, “Aren’t we already?”
From then on, we spent endless hours together. She taught me how to draw, and she was the first to suggest that I grow out my bangs and part my hair. Time passed, and eventually she moved back to Seoul, South Korea. Though we’re not in each others’ lives anymore, I’ll never forget our first sleepover, all the time we spent with our Lisa Frank coloring sets, and the laughs and bus rides that we shared.
Friendship is a funny thing. It’s impossible to know how, when, or exactly why it begins, and we won’t ever know where it will go. Sometimes friendships spring up in the unlikeliest of places, and sometimes the ones that seem like they’ll last forever end abruptly. To me, the saddest thing is becoming so close to someone so quickly during a summer abroad or a school conference, all the while knowing that your time with them is limited because of distance. There are highs and lows, and things are always changing; yet the reassurance and comfort that comes with a friendship is always there.
My first friendships were formed just on the basis of proximity—the neighborhood friend group. We would spend our summer days on the communal slip ‘n slides, having water balloon fights, and running lemonade stands. One by one, the neighborhood group dissolved as each one of us eventually moved away. In high school, I had a few close friends who I really trusted and loved to spend time with, and we remain close to this day. High school is a time of insecurities, challenges, and that never-ending process of finding yourself. It's comforting to have someone to talk to about uncertainties and worries all along the way, no matter how temporary the relationships may be.
College is where I found the greatest variety of friendships. There are the pals you text for midnight snack breaks, or to take a night stroll on campus, or to accompany you in solidarity while you cram for midterms. There are friends who will get up at 7am every morning with you to go on a jog, to try to hit all of Cambridge’s 31 colleges, even if it means running through the pouring rain. There are friends with whom you spend basically all of your time, with almost the same academic schedule, yet you cherish every moment you share together. There are friends who you can lean on when times get rough, friends who you can confide in when you’re making an important decision or going through tough times, and friends who will stay by your side no matter what
These friendships don’t always overlap, and they all started with an awkward introduction when you both decided to take a risk and go for it. And as a dear friend once said, “Every friendship, whether lasting or fleeting, is important.”
By Sarah Wie, 19