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FUCHS: College is simple series of hellos, goodbyes

Column: Questioning Jules

Although the end of some relationships might be hard, moving on is ultimately beneficial for our social development. – Photo by Rutgers University / Twitter

My college experience was unique in that I only really experienced two full years of it. I had my first year at a private liberal arts college that was far away from my home. I ultimately was not happy there and chose to transfer to Rutgers in the spring of 2020. After half of a semester, I spent the next year and a half in online courses due to the pandemic. My senior year, I came back to Rutgers for my first in-person year and worked as a resident assistant. Although it was ultimately rewarding, it was hard to have enough time to make friends.

Still, I was lucky enough to have a floor of people who cared for me and looked at me as a friend. When everything was said and done by the end of last year, I was happy and comfortable in my position as a graduate student knowing that I had a solid group of friends. I had planned on staying in touch with every single person I met last year and naively thought that this would be a possibility. 

I quickly learned the hard way that college truly is a series of hellos and goodbyes. I had never gotten to experience things this way as I have stayed in touch with all of my friends from my first year and did not really meet anybody during my sophomore year and junior years. This past year was the first time I truly felt the transition from one college school year to another.

I had to go through so much change between my first and second years, second and third years and third to fourth years to notice it. Being online all the time and in the same scared, unsure position made it seem easier to stay in touch with people.

From junior to senior year, people I met online were people I had just gotten to meet for the first time in person. This was very exciting after how much I had gone through. I technically had never really transitioned from one school year to another in person until now.

I quickly learned that people move on and might not want to be your friend anymore after a year. It is also easy to drift apart from people on such a large campus with so much going on all the time.

It can hurt to lose people who you once cared so much for. But as things come to an end, new beginnings arise. Although you may lose people, there is always the potential to meet new friends and establish new relationships.

Although there are some people who are no longer in my life, I am actively meeting new people to make up for it. Part of growing up is accepting the inevitable changes in friendship dynamics.

Not everyone will want to stick around with you on your journey. Not everyone is meant to be a lifelong friend. Some people are only in your life for a very short amount of time. It is important to appreciate and care about those around you while you still can. 

On the same token, it is important not to become discouraged by people leaving your life. This is a part of growing up and being in college. As you move through campuses and opportunities, there will be different people that become a part of that. Some people will stick around and may become some of the best friends you have. Others will move on and remain in your past. It can hurt, especially when things happen so abruptly.

But it is necessary to stay strong and not take things too personally. Even if it is personal, if this person is nasty about it and clearly does not want to be in your life, are they even worth fighting for? The answer is always no. If someone clearly does not want to be in your life, do not beg them to be. Do better, and know that there are plenty of other people out there who will be there for you unquestioningly.

I like to remember the good times I have had with people who are no longer in my life. It is crucial to remember that, although things have changed, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes people just move on with their lives and no longer have room for you in them.

You have probably fallen out of touch with people as you have continued to grow and change throughout your life. It is bittersweet, and it can even be a good thing. Looking back, there are a lot of people who are no longer in my life and who were more toxic to me than I wanted to admit at the time. This leaves room for you to surround yourself with better people and find people who bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself.

Julia Fuchs is a graduate student in the art history department studying Cultural Heritage and Preservation. Her column, "Questioning Jules," runs on alternate Thursdays.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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