In exactly two months, I will graduate with my entire class and out of this bunch, I have met the most amazing people that I will ever come across in my life. We are a class of makers. I’m not exaggerating; I am surrounded by individuals who literally believe that they can do anything (and they can!) because they actively pursue it. They have spent the previous four years making a name and a life for themselves. They are driven by passion. They are the most talented people I know. They dedicate their spare time to service both within the Seattle University community and outside of it. Together, we walk among some incredible human beings every single day.
As I put some hours into my work book tonight, a fleeting thought seeped and settled in. Though I have been lucky enough to have met and interacted with some of the best people I know within this close community, there are still so many people in my class that I will never have a chance to meet. I can’t tell you how many times a day I walk across campus, see someone that I know of (but have never met or know only as an acquaintance) and wondered how this person wasn’t actually in my life. You would think that through degrees of separation, this might be possible, but it isn’t. Graduation is bittersweet. When I attended last year, I was thrilled for all of my friends as they prepared to venture off into the next chapter of their life, but at the same time, I had reached a realization that the acquaintances are people that I may never see again. That chance of knowing them kind of goes out the window after that. And I’m not saying that I need to be bffls with this person or that I need to increase my friend count on Facebook, but I mean this person could have potentially been a friend. A significant other. A study partner! Maybe not a study partner… but I started to wonder just how many times we choose to be reserved when it comes to meeting someone new. Why are we uncomfortable with making new friends outside of our circle as adults when we have the opportunity to learn from someone new? Is it because we were taught since we were young to just avoid strangers at all costs? How can that be though when we learned that the easiest way to make a friend was to greet someone with a “hi” or “hello?”
I suppose everyone has their own reasons. My reason is time. I am usually so focused on what I am doing next that I rarely have time to enjoy relaxing and doing nothing unless someone reminds me of it. If I could slow my roll a little bit while walking along the lower mall, I’m sure I could fix this problem of mine and use it to catch up with the acquaintance that I practically fast walk next to. Maybe, at times, we are afraid of rejection. As a sophomore, I once tried start a conversation with a freshman in my residence hall while we were riding in the elevator. Most awkward ride ever. Needless to say, we never spoke again even having a class together last quarter.
As a society, we are focused on making times for ourselves and our family and friends, but what about the people we wish to know? Where exactly do they fit into our lives and do we realize how much we are missing by keeping them out?