Recently, I’ve been thinking about friendship, as in more than just I have them. Having left school and university last year, I guess I realised how education almost institutionalised friendship. And then not having these friendship-birthing grounds that I was so used to, made me think about it all.
One of the ups of school ending was leaving behind forced friendships. Those friendships that, in hindsight, didn’t mean very much and were more of a convenience thing. On the other hand, it also meant you could take forward the friendships that were actively and mutually nurtured, ones that you reckoned could withstand the turbulence that would inevitably follow in life after school. The latter I found very cool, growing in every way with a friend by your side, it’s so precious. These friendships have comforted me and helped me feel grounded as I’ve started #adulting, there’s literally nothing like reminiscing over high school dramas when you’re feeling a bit lost at 22.
In theory, the work place should be an equally fertile place for friendships, but I haven’t found it to be. Not in the same way anyway. The office is full of people from really different from me. I know the people in school weren’t all the same but having the same mad physics teacher, over-enthusiastic hymn teacher and a shared hatred for compulsory skirts in the dead of winter really helps with the whole bonding thing. All these feelings and experiences we shared over five-plus years gave us all a common ground, which to some extent isn’t there at work – especially not when you’re a newbie. Now, meeting someone at work that I have things in common with (which pretty much hasn’t happened) is weirdly so exciting.
I’m looking forward to meeting and befriending like-minded people. Equally though, I’m enjoying being in the company of people who are nothing like me. I definitely didn’t enjoy this at university, living and learning alonside people who were the total opposite of me was something that I found quite intimidating. In the work place it’s a different kind of difference between everyone. Everyone has a role of their own which is where maybe university was a bit of a struggle – everyone had the same ‘student’ role which created an illusion of equality where in actual fact there was next to none. People are a little older than me, seen more, done more and it’s been a surprisingly lovely experience even without questionable teaching figures and punishing uniforms.