College or School - where do you make better friends?
Who are your closest friends? Chances are that they will be the ones you have known in your formative years - the period of your life you spend in school. Many are of the opinion that school-friends are the ones that last for a lifetime. Others refute this argument and claim that college friends are the ones that stay with you, years later. Well, this isn't a watertight debate - after all, to each her own.
Aristotle had said, “What is a friend? A single soul that dwells in two bodies.” Is it really as simple as that?? Don’t our friendships at different phases of life bring along distinctly different moods, temperaments and feelings with them?
There’s a basic reason why many people believe school friends are the truest pals we can ever have. That is because they are our first friends - they are the first people we come close to when we enter a social world as tiny toddlers. We do not even realise that we are 'making friends' at that time and there lies the innocence of it. Right from the times when we are 3 to 4 years of age, or maybe a little younger, we are put to playschool/kindergarten/nursery, and by natural instincts we end up choosing a bunch of companions. And at that stage of life, we hardly spare a thought for ‘compatibility’, ‘tuning’, ‘well-matched wavelengths’ or anything else. We simply go by what our hearts say and the people it wants to befriend. Such naiveté and simplicity is rare at a later stage of our lives.
Friendships that start off at school happen quite instinctively, with no preconceived notions or judgments. If we like talking to someone, if we enjoy their company, if they make us feel ‘at-home’ - they become our friends and playmates. We don’t mind baring our hearts out to them, there are no ego clashes involved, manipulation or diplomacy are remote things to be even associated with the institution of friendship. At this stage, fights between friends are also spurred by rather silly and frivolous issues, such as a lost pen, a football-match, taking off a hair band and so on. However, as we grow up and come to terms with the ways of the world, the definition of friendship changes within our minds. Perhaps that explains why youngsters these days label most college friendships as “professional.” Having reached adulthood, we no longer retain juvenile selfless notions about life and our friendships are mostly governed by our minds rather than our hearts. Leave alone choosing friends spontaneously, we fail to be absolutely genuine and guileless in dealing with our friends at an adult stage. Thinking and rethinking, phrasing and rephrasing, tarnishing simple conversations with veiled motives, pretentious expressions, suppressed jealousies, power struggles, a sense of rivalry and such other feelings often guide our dealing with those we call friends.
By the time we reach college, we become more self-centred than what we were in school. Hence, on most occasions, we are unable to make the sacrifices and compromises for the sake of friendship. On the other hand, we are so much guided ambition and competition that in the so-called “rat race”, we leave the precious bonds behind. College years are mostly about inflated egos, heightened sensitivity and vulnerability that often mar the establishment of strong friendships. Even issues such as a friend winning a competition can create a rift, for the sense of the self is what remains predominant. Superiority/inferiority complexes, defense mechanisms, and such other psychological complications resist our minds against pure, undiluted friendships.
On the other hand, many people believe that during school, we are too immature to figure out who are best suitable to be our lifelong friends. Our sensibilities aren't developed yet, and it is only in college that we are able to choose friends with a similar mindset and get along wonderfully with those people. College years also mean a lot more freedom, independence, fun and frolics; and, it is amidst all the gaiety that we truly identify that ones we love hanging out with. Most school friends often move to different cities during or after school, and are not always able to keep in touch. Rather, we grow closer to college friends who are introduced to us when we have a distinct personality, with our unique cognitive, attitudinal and behavioral patterns. We know exactly what our interests, ideals, tastes and beliefs are, and we choose friends who fall in the same group.
Friendship is not an absolute concept. The meaning and implication of it varies from person to person. Thus, it goes without saying that people will differ in their opinion as to whether school or college friends are the ones that remain with you in the long run. It is a priceless treasure nevertheless, and to have good friends is one of the prime secrets to a happy life.