As the leaves finish falling, many of us head home to our hometowns to see old friends and family. Being reunited with the people we’ve known for so long may make us forget how long it took us to build such intimate relationships. In our last installment of “And that’s the story of how I met…” peer eds shared how they met their friends in college. But as graduating seniors know, life continues after college. It may seem daunting to have to make friends without the comfort of a shared living space or classroom struggles. Below a few Barnard staff share how they made their first “grown-up” friendships. Check back again next week to read more stories from staff members about how they met their friends!
Dean Grabiner, First-Year Class Dean and Dean for Academic Assistance
One way I’ve found to make friends post-college is to be my authentic self when I interact with people at work, to the extent that it’s professionally appropriate. For example, I was in a meeting some years ago where a topic came up that related to my own identity politics, and I made a comment that began, “As a gay woman, I….” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman at the far end of the table swivel her head over to look at me, and I saw a look of recognition on her face. The next time I ran into her, she made a point of coming up to me to talk about how she always attends the Michigan Women’s Music Festival and used to visit the West Village as a teenager from Long Island because it made her feel free. These moments of connection were the beginning of our friendship.
Mary Joan L. Murphy,Executive Director of Student Health and Wellness Programs
I would say that I made many of my post college friends from volunteering and graduate school.
Immediately after college, I worked for two yearsa as a teacher volunteer in Belize, Central America with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps-similiar to Peace Corps but much smaller and has some value components attached with it. I made a group of life long friends from that experience. I also joined the group Team and Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society when I moved back to NYC and completed a marathon and a couple triatholons with them and made a great group of friends through this. I also have a few friends (one of whom I just went out to dinner with last night) from my graduate work.
My advice would be to get involved with groups and topics you are interested in where you will find like minded people!
Jenna Freedman, Associate Director of Communications & Zine Librarian
My core group of non-professional friends are folks I worked with as a lighting technician at the Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park. Long hours, hard work, danger and lots of fun build intense friendship.
I’m also close to a lot of librarians, online and in person, IMing daily with my BFF from grad school. You might be surprised at how social librarians are.
Over the last few years I’ve gotten back into letter-writing. I can spend an hour writing someone a letter and decorating the envelope. Doing that, and getting similarly crafted mail back makes me feel close to people, one of whom I’ve never met and probably never will.
I still consider my college roommate my lifelong bestie though she lives in Connecticut and I rarely see her.