Like most people, friendship is exponentially important to me. Growing up, making (and keeping) good friends was really hard. Fast forward: Grad school was a whole different ballgame from the rest of my life experiences – For the first time I was surrounded by settings and people who wanted similar things as myself, and it was a great environment for breeding dialogue, colleagues, and friendship.
Being that my grad program was a year and a half long, and a program that did not follow a traditional cohort model, there were only a handful of us who started the program, full time, at the same time (Sept ’13) and finished at the same time (Dec ’14). In that time, bonds were made – especially throughout that small handful (affectionately known as our “faux-hort”) – over things like paper length, struggles over choosing project topics, and commiserating over the pages and pages of reading assigned each week. And in the throes of homework, classes, and practicum, we became friends.
It was only upon completion of our degree program that I really started to become REAL friends with my classmates. I could write pages and pages about each of them, but I’m referring specifically to Jess Schulman. I don’t remember exactly how we got to talking and becoming chummy – I THINK it was when she sat behind me in Research….. maybe? I’m terrible at remembering that stuff – but once class was dismissed, we were finally able to get to know each other on a friend level that involved conversations OUTSIDE of classwork and higher ed. It was almost comical, the noticeable shift in dynamic. I’ve been fortunate enough to hang out with her a lot more since we’ve finished school: making dinner, watching movies, grabbing beers, talking about dating, and commiserating over the job search, and it’s been such a pleasure to be able to genuinely enjoy each other’s company without making a study date, or meeting up before class to go over the reading we forgot to do. In Jess I’ve found someone who appreciates puns, has patience and listening skills like a saint, a dessert buddy, a job-search-and-application-hold-each-other-accountable-buddy, and, in general, support and fun!
I’m so lucky to have a friend like her.
I also cannot talk about creating friendships over student affairs without mentioning Craig Bidiman and Katy Hamm. I have been extremely lucky to have created some amazing bonds with SAgrads and SApros alike through Twitter, but the friendships I have gained from Craig and Katy, specifically, are really special to me. Craig and I were first connected when I tweeted a question about tattoos in the higher ed work place, and a mutual connection suggested I read Craig’s blog post. From there the details are fuzzy, but I know that that was just the beginning of a series of tweets, favorites, and retweets that led to a sunny, summer (or maybe Fall? Bad memory, remember?) afternoon having lunch with both Craig and Katy, which is how I met Katy! Since then, I have engaged in conversations with the two of them about higher ed, social justice, personal experiences, tattoos, cheeseburgers, and music. And here’s where I get kindof mushy.
I have always had a deep connection with music, and a taste for genres unique to the rest of my friendgroups. My friendships are not defined by a mutual taste in music, however being able to bond with someone over something that is such a big part of me is rare and special, and finding that in both Craig and Katy makes me feel obnoxiously sentimental – My connections with Katy and Craig are different from most of my friendships; we come from a lot of the same places. I talk to Craig about bands all the time, and he is kind enough to humor my enthusiasm when I overreact to the latest-released tour dates, album announcements, and the like. Playing several rounds of the latest additions to Katy’s card/board game collection, I’ve discovered new bands to listen to, comedians to laugh at, and crafts to try (embroidery!), and learned that Katy and I share so many similarities, which is comforting and awesome and other adjectives.
All of this – meeting, connecting, becoming friends – because of a similar educational/career path. SA truly connects!
These people and these friendships are special to me for their own unique reasons, reasons that certainly go deeper than a quick blog post, but what they all have in common is that they “get it.”
It’s fabulous to have friends who “get it.” Get what you’re about, get what you’re interested in, get what your work means, and – most importantly – get you. And I am supremely thankful to have at least three who do. <3