Recently I’ve been finding myself questioning every part of my life. Whether it’s the fact that I’ve chosen the questionable path of becoming a ‘struggling’ writer or the fact that I’m about to turn 25 and I feel as though I have nothing to show for it.
Before I left school I thought that by the time I was 25 I would have moved to New York (or some other trendy equivalent) pursuing a career in something random that happily payed for a lifestyle that I didn’t realise was borderline unrealistic. I never dreamt of going to a university in Bath, clinic (one of England’s idyllic cousins) but when I did it was a huge culture shock. I found it so difficult to make friendships that felt even slightly close to the ones I had acquired back home in London. Part of me questioned why I’d left London, my friends and family for a life that – at times – felt like it didn’t want me to fit in. I’d always had a vast group of friends and loved meeting new people. The love of meeting new people didn’t change once I went to university but the ability to hold on to friendships and find people I genuinely felt passionate about was few and far between.
During my first two years at university I only had three friends and it was hard. They essentially became my family and my friends but what I realised was that they were way more on my wave length then anyone else I’d met at university. For that, I couldn’t have been more happy and more in love. We all looked and seemed to be quite different but we wanted the same thing out of our university experience, which was to work hard and play hard and not take anything we came across too seriously. We all had a twisted and more socially aware sense of humour and it isolated us from everyone else. During my first year I remember thinking I had made a mistake by being friends with them because they were all I had but it took a while for me to realise they were really all I needed.
By my final year I’d made a few more friends and felt way more settled at university but what I didn’t realise was how this experience made me understand that the friendships I made during my school years were the ones that really made me feel like I was back home. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every person I built a genuine and honest relationship with during university. Without them, my memories wouldn’t be so fond and Bath will always hold a ‘rose tinted glasses affect’ in my memory.
However, when I would get together with my friends after university and we would speak about whatever struggle we were going through that no education system prepared us for, I would quickly find myself comparing what I felt was my lack of achievements with their achievements before I reminded myself that we are all on different journeys that we’re working tirelessly to succeed in and that’s pretty magical.
We never spoke intently about our career goals and whilst I’m all too familiar that most conversations thrive on this area once you leave university I’m also aware that before university I wouldn’t have even known what I felt was my ultimate career goal. I could feel myself, as well as each and every one of my friends, blossoming and growing to get to where we wanted to be, whether that’s law, fashion, social care or TV and it’s actually a pretty beautiful thing. We don’t speak everyday because there genuinely isn’t always time and it’s a blessing if we see each other more than once a week because the power and pull of our beds is a lot more appealing after a long day at work – and I take no offence to that – but when we hang out it just works.
Sometimes I think I forget that in life those good friendships – whether there’s three, six or ten of them – make such a difference because they’ve grown up with you. They know the real you and that pulls you back home to where you need to be. As celebrities always say as they’re about to embark on a lavish lifestyle we couldn’t comprehend… “they keep me grounded.” I’m pretty good at forgetting how good I have it, comparing every friendship I’ve ever had and made when really I was missing the beauty of what was actually happening.
Written by Savannah Small-Swaby