By Angie Lee
I am already getting emotional about the fact that my freshman year of college is almost over. It feels like just yesterday that I drove down Palm Drive with my parents in a car packed to the brim with dorm decorations, a nervous and excited knot in my stomach as I saw the huge “Welcome to Stanford” banner hanging at the main entrance to the school. Now, we are getting ready to welcome a new class of trees for Admit Weekend and the weather is back to being perfect. Things have gone full circle.
I’m not going to say Stanford is a paradise because it isn’t — no school is. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but the overall emotion I feel when I consider the fact that one fourth of my time here is over is indeed sadness. My freshman year has been full of lots of growth — academic growth in exploring and expanding my interests, spiritual and emotional growth that came with going through some of the tougher times (winter quarter mood, am I right?), and, most of all, growth in my friendships. Looking back at my freshman year, I think what I am most thankful for is not the abundance of academic or extracurricular opportunities nor the profound professors I’ve developed relationships with. It is the friendships that I have developed. Here is how my friendships have progressed from fall quarter to spring quarter of freshman year.
Fall quarter friendships: Consisted of a lot of small talk (“How’s your week going?” “What classes are you taking?” etc.), worrying about seeming too clingy, occasional deep conversations about the meaning of life and lots of exclamation points in text messages and Facebook posts. This is the slightly annoying yet crucial stage where you are still scoping out your friend’s sense of humor, wondering how they will react if you say something weird. I don’t mean to say that fall quarter friendships are all surface-level; however, there is an inevitable period of getting to know each other that you have to go through.
Winter quarter friendships: This is when you go through the tough times together, and come out with stronger friendships. There are more deep conversations about the meaning of life, sharing life dilemmas with each other, loosening up with your jokes, missing each other if you haven’t seen each other for a day, and seeing things throughout your day and thinking “So and so would love that, or hate that, or think that was funny.” You follow each other’s “finstas.” The exclamation points and emojis in the text messages decline significantly, and you don’t have to ask how their classes are going because you already know. This is when the turning point occurs: when you begin to include college friends in your category of best friends, not just your high school friends.
Spring quarter friendships: This is the stage of friendships where, instead of the overly polite “Hey! I was wondering if you wanted to get lunch tomorrow at 12:30?”, you text your friend “Lunch?” when you start to get hungry and they respond with “Be there in five.” This is when it starts to seem crazy that you have only known these people for a few months — you’ve been through so much together already and you can’t imagine not knowing them. You start to think the concept of dorm life is so cool — you get to live in the same building as your best friends. You start to think it will be weird not seeing them every day in the summer. You become confident that there are people who deeply and genuinely care about you, and you deeply and genuinely care about them.
I’m sure everyone has had different experiences developing friendships throughout their time here at Stanford. For me, this is a snippet of what it felt like; I’m so thankful for this development and wouldn’t have it any other way. Perhaps when I’m a senior, I’ll write a piece for the Daily called “How my friendships have developed since freshman year,” and I can’t wait to see how much my friends and I will have grown even more, as students, as human beings and as individuals who love and care for each other.
Contact Angie Lee at angielee ‘at’ stanford.edu.