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The Value of Friendship

By Sam Ross

In a world where we are obsessed with tracking our progress through various fitness, sleep and calorie trackers, we often forget the most important aspects of life. One value that matters most to me is friendships.

I myself can admit to tracking my steps, my sleep, my flights of stairs climbed, though never calories because I mean, why should I avoid that giant slab of rocky road? And so here lies a problem – whilst we are so fixated on measuring things, knowing things, accessing information faster than ever before (as long as we don’t use eduroam), how do we measure our friendships?

Simply put, we can’t.

Friendships take time, effort, and they can often start with just a smile. Isn’t one of the most commonly asked questions about University, “Are you excited to meet new people?” And then once you return from your first semester away from home, “Lots of friends made then?”

So therefore, isn’t one of the main attractions to University to meet new people? For me it certainly was – to get out of my small home town and to make new connections, make new relationships and start a whole new chapter in my life.

The friendships I made, conversations I had, people I smiled at in passing, all made a difference to my day. Bearing in mind that I am very new to mindfulness, I feel that relishing every single moment of my day is necessary to truly experiencing life. I also felt that the days where I felt most accomplished, most fulfilled, was when I met with a friend.

When I had the opportunity to sit down and write the next page of a friendship, when I got to focus on nothing but that person, whether it was Camilla or Phoebe for coffee, or Rebecca and Katie for dinner. Friendship mattered to me. And it matters to you too.

If I had one piece of advice for the Class of 2020, it would be to enjoy every friendship you have a chance to make. Whether you are sat in your halls games room having drinks before your first St Andrews night out, walking to Tesco with your flatmates, or casually (and secretly excitedly) talking to the person sitting next to you in a lecture, enjoy it.

Some of these friendships might be permanent, and during Freshers, many friendships may be temporary. But don’t try to measure which category Pippa, from Manchester, who studies Philosophy and lives in DRA will fall into. Enjoy the endless friendships which are on offer to you. Make real time for people, don’t just give them an hour of your day or promise a coffee date which never happens.

And remember, it isn’t about how many friends you have, it’s the quality of the friends you have. Not that I’m suggesting you use some sort of cross breeding – survival of the fittest method to make the best friends in the world, but giving real time and paying real attention to the person you’re with never hurts.

Be the person who makes others feel listened to, feel important to, feel wanted by. You never know how much those around you might need it. And you never know how many friendships you’ll gain.

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