Posts Tagged ‘student friends’

Friendships, A Puzzling Affair

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

If you’re anything like me, you like to use metaphors to try and make sense of the world around you. And if you’re nothing like me, all the better; sometimes, metaphors are most appreciated by those standing outside their wily bounds, looking on with a critical and unconvinced eye.

Without further ado, I’d like to present to you the Friendship Metaphor (FM)(I hope you’ll excuse this unimaginative title, but too much creativity can be a bad thing). As indicated by the title of this chapter, this metaphor revolves entirely around one of the most controversial pastimes known to man: puzzles. Some people love them, some people hate them (yours truly), but I think that generally, most people derive a certain satisfaction from the process of finding pieces which only moments before being joined into a seamless design were little more than individual units floating in a sea of possibilities and wrong roads.

      There are two ways to go about the metaphor from here. First, you can think of yourself as one of the puzzle pieces; this option is not entirely appealing to me. Firstly, it assumes that you are some unchangeable, fixed piece, and we all know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Think back to the person you were ten, five or even one year ago. You probably don’t approach life (and therefore friendships) in the same way as you did then. Secondly, this view of the metaphor assumes that you can only be connected to the pieces right next to you, those that resemble you the most. I think you can see why that might be an unrealistic visualization.

      We arrive, therefore, at the place I believe the FM maximizes its full metaphorical potential for helping us understand friendship formation: rather than seeing yourself as the puzzle piece, view yourself as the master, and the pieces as the various relationships and connections you are building. Here, you are the one putting the pieces together, taking different approaches to how you build friendships and relationships in every area of your life. Just like when assembling a puzzle, you are motivated at the start–the possibilities are endless, and you’re confident in your ability to complete this puzzle. Then, frustration–you realize finding matching pieces is not as easy as you’d thought, and that the pieces and approaches you’d counted on are failing you. In desperation, you may put the puzzle aside for a while and tell yourself that this “hobby” isn’t for you after all, only to pick it up again,letting the entire cycle restart.

“Puzzle” by INTVGene is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

As a college student, as you move away from home and feel lost in a sea of new people, keep this in mind: you’re not restarting the puzzle at every friendship you forge, just working on a different section. In a way, you’ve been assembling the puzzle your whole life. When you were little, maybe a loved one helped you out with the hard parts. Now, they’re giving you space to figure it out.

So, if the Friendship Metaphor can help you approach friendships in college in any way, I hope it’s by reminding you how capable you are of completing this puzzle, your puzzle. I’m not saying it will be easy, nor will it always be pleasant. But what I can guarantee is that if you let the fear of failure stop you, your unfinished puzzle will just become an annoying reminder of all the friendships you could’ve forged and that are just waiting for you to accept them into your life.

Main takeaways:

  • Forging friendships is like putting together a puzzle, where you’re the assembler and the pieces are all the connections and relationships you are forging.
  • It’s normal to be overwhelmed or even frustrated when assembling a puzzle – and it’s no different with friendships. In those cases, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you’re not necessarily starting over, just working on a different part of the puzzle (and your life).

By: Chiara Jurczak

Chiara Jurczak is a second-year student at Northeastern University where she is majoring in Political Science and Communication Studies. She is currently finding new ways to explore her passions for creative writing, publishing and political crises, and hoping to figure it all out sooner rather than later. In her free time, you can find her reading, baking, or trying to talk her friends into going on fun (and at times strange) adventures.

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Settling: The Art of Friending, Side Friends, Lunch & Dinner Friends

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

You’ve unpacked, bought your books, and attended a few courses, and missed one on account of  the screeching alarms being set off at 3 a.m. No worries, you’re just becoming a real New Yorker. You’re a competent adjuster but forming new friendships is another story. It would be much easier if this were kindergarten where anyone sharing their PB&J is your friend.

   Don’t panic. Here are useful tips to transverse that murky friend zone. How do you know a person is a friend? There should be a “talk” or verbal contract specifying you’re both friends as it would ease the friendship, unfortunately, it does not exist yet. I digress, people are your friends if they are willing to spend time outside class with you for more than 1 hour (this does not encompass study partners) and attends parties with you and other people, and has decency to say goodbye if they leave before you. People are in your friend circle, additionally, if they eat either lunch or dinner with you more than once a week. You shouldn’t force it but prop up naturally, spontaneous.  These scenarios also apply to you because people expect you to reciprocate the same efforts.


  We have finished the rules to being a friend. Now to find them. Arguably, New York City is treacherous for newcomers because of the fast paced, goal driven personas you often meet on the streets. Unless you’ve grown up in this jungle you can’t be expected to know every single nook and cranny. If you’re new on campus worried you won’t meet other newbies then join a campus club; you’ll meet tons of like minded people and enjoy your activity. Keep in mind you should try other clubs that spark your curiosity, and if you dislike them there’s nothing chaining you to them except guilt. Find clubs you think mesh well with your personal values and goals. If you’re searching for active, outdoor people then enrolling in an art club is unwise; the positive is you’ll learn tons about abstract color synchronization techniques. If you’re like me, then enroll to every single club you find interesting, attend their first meetings, and then decide whether to commit or scratch it off your plate.

     My school holds a club festival every beginning of the semester to enlist new members–then again my college is in upstate New York so choices are scarce during winter time, either you remain inside your dorm eating instant noodles or visit off-campus sites to gorge on the local food…and then regret it.

      One club stood out the most, the Men and Women’s Rowing club. My first thought was that this would really get me down to my ideal weight and body shape, and seeing as my friend was eager to join, we signed up. Our first meetings were just basic paperwork, insurance information, and minor details. However, practices were gruesome. For starters, I always thought they would be held during late afternoons; turns out we had to meet at 5:30 a.m–this our coach would later angrily explain meant we had to be on the dock at 5:30am. Therefore, for 3 times a week I woke up at 4:45 a.m to be driven down to the boathouse and arrive at 5:15 a.m. This was utter madness. yes! Why do it? Tremendous guilt would burden me for life if I left my friend suffering alone,  but the unforeseen occurred: I liked the sport and people.

     There are other outlets, of course, you can use these days to forge new friendships while in NYC. If sports are not your forte, then stick to your interest, slowly branching yourself into other groups. You don’t have to  join the local soccer, football, or rugby team. You can start small with Yoga classes at Moksha Yoga that offers a free class to first timers who bring the Campus Clipper coupon, if that’s your preference. There’s never a reason to not try new things–unless you’re highly allergic or you’re bedridden–so start small and end up winning big.





Sergio Hernandez, Skidmore College. Send Sergio a Tweet Tweet only on Twitter

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