Sometimes I sit in Aldrich Park enjoying sunlight streaming through the branches of our lovely trees, and I think about how different it was here, socially, the last time around. I’m not writing about romances. There have always been plenty of gender mixers, and hence romances, at this university. I’m writing about a bond that forms between two people who simply like each other a lot: friends.
When I graduated from UCI in 1979, I had exactly one friend to my name. Well, really … not even that. You couldn’t honestly count her, because Cindy and I had grown up together and had known each other for over a decade before college. In fact, I did have a lot of pals, but none of them came from this campus.
That means I attended this university for four years and came away with no new person to call my friend. So, I sit on a bench in the park and I ask myself how I could be around so many fellow students for years and allow that to happen.
The answer is simple. Back then, UCI was even more of a commuter school than it is now. There were some meeting places around campus, to be sure, as with the Italian restaurant across the street or Bob’s Big Boy (where people sat with their coffee in those days).
But for the most part, I attended classes, sat in the library, ate some taco salads at the Commons and that was it. There were not even many local apartments. Most of us had a nice little drive to school each day. I attended occasional social events, but those were for singles, and friendship, per se, was not on the menu.
So it heartens me to recognize one tremendous change on campus. There are now many opportunities for involvement in a variety of arenas, from clubs to Greeks and academic groups, as well. It’s a smorgasbord!
Because of it, I’m now writing for this paper and I’m involved with other on-campus programs as well. I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the UROP Journal Editorial Board this year, and I have met some wonderful people at the meetings. I’m hoping to form friendships that will last a lifetime. Students may overlook forming such bonds during frantic days of reading book after book and taking test after test. Still, there is more to life than work, and a huge portion of that, my friends, is … friends.
Even with friends, there is some bad news. Life is not a Hallmark card. Friends are not always there when you need them.
But a good friend is someone who will meet you halfway. She’ll call once in a while just to see if you’d like to go out for ice cream. He’s another person in the sea of humanity who knows you’re alive and is glad for it.
As long as you’re giving out those Hallmark cards this Valentine’s Day, why not write some out for your friends? If they stick with you, they deserve some
Filed Under: Features