Making friends outside of school is really rewarding

University can be a great source of energy and having interesting and fun things to do all day with school friends is probably the best thing about studying.  The first year in Sweden, I didn’t really put in any effort to make friends outside of school. That changed in summer. A lot of my friends went out of Sweden, either travelling or interning. Not having this safety net of friends to fall back on, I had to make some new friends.

Making friends as an adult is challenging everywhere in the world. One of the main reasons, I guess, is that everyone has a well settled life. Most people’s thoughts, identities and ideas are formed. People have chosen their paths and careers, often the person they are going to spend their life with. Most people already have friends, probably don’t need new friends. Being stagnant in life, that is one thing that truly scares me. Knowing how the rest of my life would look like, that scares me. So, one could say, I haven’t settled in life yet.

This summer was great. It was not anything like I expected a great summer to be. A lot of it because of people I met who were outside of my school. People from outside of school or workplace add perspective. There is a reason why people are studying together in a school, even if they come from all over the world. Though not everyone is thinking alike, people do share similar ideologies, views of the world. Which is why, at least for me, people from outside my university have shown me some more possibilities in life, some more paths to explore. I met a lot of my friends through climbing. Picking a hobby is probably the easiest way to make friends. Pick any hobby, even if you really suck at it, spend 3-5 hours a week doing it, and before you know it you would have made friends.

If you told me in June that I would spend most of the summer working, climbing and cycling, I don’t think I would have sounded too excited about it. To be honest, not only have I enjoyed these activities, I have also enjoyed the whole process of discovering it and stumbling upon things I like. I have cycled around some insanely beautiful places in Stockholm. It is crazy to imagine these places to be so close to the heart of the city. I have camped in a forest in the middle of the week, 5 mins away from a friend’s dorm. It is so easy to get into the rhythm and flow and stop appreciating these things. It is so easy to take things like having nature around you for granted. At some point in the summer, I did feel like that. I felt like I was starting to take things for granted. I stopped appreciating the fact that I can leave work at 5 PM everyday, or that the city has spent millions to make went maintained cycling lanes, or I have a climbing gym 15 minutes away from my house, none of which would have been possible a year back.

Its so easy to get blinded, to live in a bubble. To feel like that assignment is the most important thing in the world, or that the world would fall apart if the project gets delayed. I think, friends from outside of the workplace or university add such rich perceptive to my life, my own very little bubble, they allow to me to step outside and breathe.

Raghuraman

An Indian student studying general management at Stockholm School of Economics. Email me your questions at raghu.digitalambassador (at) gmail.com.
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