Sophie says: leading a double life is a tough gig

Image credit: Sophie Huskisson

It’s all a bit weird, this whole uni thing, isn’t it? You’ve got uni friends and then you’ve got home friends. And then your uni friends have got home friends and your home friends have got uni friends. And that’s a lot of friends who aren’t all friends. We’re in this weird transitional space in between being a child at school and being an adult in the real world. I wonder if it’s healthy for people our age to be leading what is essentially a double life: rooted from your family and friends to a whole new place, where you settle into a new familiarity, before being plunged back into your old normal life.

So we’re about midway through term now and I’m considering the reality that I’m going to have to spend 3 months living away from my uni friends: the friends who fill the place of my family here too. But then I have to remind myself that it’s all about routines. I know that when I get home, I’ll be missing uni like crazy and then I’ll settle back into home life, which just means that the reverse anxieties will be happening when it comes to returning to uni again in October. Can this system stop playing with my emotional stability please?

These days it is almost too easy to contact people. Should I be speaking to my uni friends everyday of the summer, should I be speaking to my home friends everyday of uni? Generally we’ve been pretty used to friendships maintaining themselves - we can thank school for that. But now it feels like we are required to look upon friendships in a completely different way. It’s a hard thing for us as people to have complete and utter confidence in our social relationships. I’m sure we’ve all had one of those moments where you suddenly think: hang on, does this person actually even like me? Or, do I like this person way more than they like me? And so it’s a difficult concept for us to get our head around the fact we spend half the year exerting our energies into one set of friendships, and the other half another.

We can look at this from one perspective and label it as an unhealthy lifestyle for young adults - essentially swapping the people and environments they feel most comfortable with/in every few months. But in reality these are just what adult friendships are. All my uni friends and all my home friends have very separate lives to me, and I’m becoming very aware of the fact we are all very independent people in this world. I realise now that I can’t keep up with my home friends’ uni lives or my uni friends’ home lives, the only life I need to keep up with is my own.

A friend and I analogised University as the stabilisers on a bike. You’re riding by yourself, well on the way to the real world, but there’s still that little bit of extra support. When everyone says that uni helps you gain independence, this doesn’t just mean learning to cook or doing your own washing; but it also involves becoming an independent individual in society, not just part of a group of friends, not just a student in a class. We’re moving through the world now, meeting different people as we go, making friendships, keeping friendships and also, losing friendships. Let low maintenance friendships be the way forward in your life, because quite frankly, the best friendships shouldn’t require any work at all. 

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