Ask Pawan: My high school friends don't feel like friends anymore

It’s the end of the summer and I’m going into second year. The high school “friends” I had in my old town are boring and probably should be called acquaintances. I just don’t know how I feel about leaving all them behind for UBC friends that I have not known for even a year yet. Help?

UBC does a few things really well. One of the administration’s crowning achievements seems to be making first year as bombastic and high-octane as possible, especially in the beginning and end of each semester. From President Ono’s approachability on Imagine Day to the plethora of Rez events held by Vanier and Totem, UBC has a concerted effort to ensure your semesters are bracketed with plenty of school spirit. One of the pitfalls of this “ending on a high note” strategy, however, is that the slope is steep on the way down. You’ve spent a year in one of Canada’s biggest cities, surrounded by your peers of age, intellect, and interest and now you have to go back to that other place? It feels almost criminal to have four months where the best you can do is count the days and watch the distant Facebook events roll by in your feed.

I encourage you to take a step back and reexamine the relationships you formed in your hometown. You probably missed your family but that’s usually a given, so try to look a bit farther out. You made friends in high school and grade school who you haven’t talked to in a bit and might seem a bit bland compared to the diversity and novelty of who you met at school, but these hometown friends have something your university friends may not: history. These friends knew you before puberty kicked in; they might remember some of those crushes you had; they might recall seeing you in ill-fitting sweatshirts that your current fashion sense doesn’t want to remember. They also might have been the ones to help you study the subject you’re now majoring in or deal with the high school stresses you can’t remember now, or simply give you a laugh that helped the time go by. I am not saying that all of our past relationships are founded in deep emotions, and I’ll be the first to advocate the cutting of tenuous ties. What I am saying, though, is that there are people who helped make the person you currently are.

Beyond your parents and siblings, there are the people around you that you (sub)consciously copied or inadvertently let effect your opinions or emotions or reactions. Again, not all of these relationships should be artificially “cherished” due to historical reverence, but the person you are now didn’t just spring up out of the ground, as put together as you are. Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for its trees, and I ask that you try to remember why you kept on with your hometown friends for as long as you did. If you see that the effects you have had on each other were good enough to merit calling someone your pal for a long time, it might merit a second try at reviving that. Conversely, if it was someone who was more of a “friend by default” or effected you in a negative way to no good end, send ‘em off with the flair of someone who has seen what the world has to offer. The only way to see if a book on your shelf is relevant to you, especially an old one, is to crack it open and see what it’s all about.

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