8 Lessons In 8 Semesters: Lesson 1

8 Lessons In 8 Semesters

Diarmuid Brady


January 15, 2024

No amount of friendly people can replace a few close friends.

💡  What do you define as a shallow and a deep relationship?
       How do you prioritise and maintain close relationships?
       What is your experience with shallow and deep relationships?

My first year of college marked a stark contrast from my secondary school Leaving Certificate year. In secondary school, I often spent considerable time alone. Yet, in college, it was a whirlwind of meeting people—everywhere I turned, someone new awaited.

Whether in campus accommodation, clubs, societies, house parties, or during nights out, the initial semester revolved around encountering fresh faces nearly every day. Living in campus accommodation made chance encounters common, sparking conversations about our settling-in experiences, activities, or which nights we planned to venture into Dublin City Centre.

Initially, meeting many new students and engaging in constant conversations was invigorating. However, as time passed, I noticed these exchanges seldom penetrated the surface. Despite my attempts to delve into topics that interested me, the shared enthusiasm often seemed lacking.

Conversations about my activities or learning pursuits were often met with a neutral response, akin to ‘sounds interesting, but not my thing.’ I had joined various clubs and societies, hoping for more meaningful interactions, yet found myself caught in repetitive conversations that didn’t quite match my interests. I desired deeper discussions but struggled to find like-minded people.

Despite the many friendly encounters, I felt a persistent sense of solitude. I had yet to connect deeply with anyone new. Disappointed, I wondered if I was overlooking something. While it seemed like everyone had established their friend circles, I felt stuck in the middle.

Looking back now, surrounded by friends I value, I’ve realised that prioritising spending quality time with people, immersing myself in supportive environments, practising patience, and allowing relationships to naturally develop were pivotal for me.

Building and prioritising close relationships is important. Over time, surface-level connections can feel unfulfilling. Find people with whom you feel comfortable and can have fun, who celebrate your successes, and support you through failure. If you find yourself lacking close relationships, consider if you’re spending sufficient quality time around people, if your environment is supportive, or if you just need to be patient.

In conclusion, by the semester’s end, I wasn’t completely lost, I had found some friends with whom I enjoyed spending time. I hoped these relationships would deepen into something more meaningful. However, the second semester had other plans in mind for me, teaching me one of my most difficult lessons yet, which I’ll delve into in next week’s post.