Confessions of a Graduate – Forever Friends? The Difficulty of Keeping in Touch

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Remember when you wanted to see a friend in univrsity; all you had to do was pick up the phone and arrange to meet up that day? After uni that becomes much harder. Like some cliché narrative, after graduation you all go your separate ways; you all move back home, find jobs (if you are lucky) and make new friends or reconnect with pre-university pals and somewhere along the way you slowly merge yourself into a new/old friend group. However, you don’t forget your university buds and you promise yourself to make more an effort to meet up with them no matter how far apart you may be but to no avail due to work commitments or financial troubles.

The truth is that you don’t realise just how amazing those friends are until the possibility to meet back up with them is made more difficult. Memories of explaining what Barthes truly meant by ‘Death of the Author’ to each other around the kitchen table or playing board games with all your university chums under one roof brings a smile to your face. Nostalgic recollections to remind you just how amazing an experience university was with those you shared it with. These friends know exactly how it felt that first day you entered higher education, the time you set off the fire alarm and your first 3,000 word essay because they felt the same too. Even more so, they developed into mature academic adults the same time you did (if not for the occasional drunken slip into childishness that all uni students tend to suffer from on nights out). It is constantly thrown about that these people are going to be your friends for life but how can that be if you never find time to meet up or talk? Unfortunately, working and moving apart from one another is part of becoming an adult; earning a living and finding a career rather than a job becomes numero uno on a post-graduates list of priorities. So it is no surprise that some social groups begin to fade away into a sort of dream-like memory. But why should all of them? Surely some friendships, be it before university or during it, are worth maintaining?

So I ask you all to pick up that phone and make a long-awaited call to your uni friends because it’s always best to reminisce and giggle about the past with those involved.  Who knows, maybe with commitment to make it work, you can both make memories once again no matter how long ago you both graduated or how far apart you live from one another. You won’t know until you try.

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“Not all Heroes Wear Masks” – The Kind of Hero We Should be Inspired by

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Since I am a self-professed and proud nerd, a question I am asked as a conversation starter on a regular basis is ‘Who’s your favourite superhero?’ Of course, I am a Batman fanatic so I reply with such and begin discussing in detail several reasons as to why until their eyes glaze over. It becomes evident they have no idea what I am talking about anymore (because their only knowledge of Batman is from seeing the 1992 animated series as a kid or through the mental scars left from Clooney’s nipple defining Batsuit in 1997). Of course, those eyes that were fully glazed suddenly widen to full panic when I ask the same question back to them and they quickly change the topic.

I must make clear that I am not complaining that they avoid the question though as it was originally an attempt to make small talk with me and so I am thankful for them taking an interest. I am certain many people are not interested in comic books or superheroes just as I am not interested in football. So I understand the limits one can have on topics that do not interest us for example I know little about the current football players and managers (the last manager of Man United I recall was Alex Ferguson – which I can now claim, after googling, there have been 3 since then).  What I have come to realise though is that the question we should be asking each other is not ‘who is your favourite superhero?’ but ‘who is your hero?’. Not celebrity wise but on a much personal scale. After all, we are all heroes in our own way.

You dear reader may not realise this but someone may consider you an inspiration. I for one did not believe I could be until one day recently, as I slowly fell asleep, I came to realise the number of times people have told me how motivated they were by actions I took. For example, after coming out of the closet, one of my best friends decided to tell our group that he was a furry (one that is interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters and is wrongly thought by others to enjoy ‘furry sex’). He told me that my coming out had inspired him to trust us all as I did with him. Of course at the time I felt complimented but only now do I see the significance I was part of in helping my friend be proud and honest to whom he is.

Of course I am also inspired by those around me too. My 6th form tutor truly inspired me to be who I am without trying to, by simply being herself it inspired me to want to live a life like hers; a life with no limits. My partner obviously inspires me (cue a sickeningly sweet ‘aww’), he inspires me to try new things and once in a while leave my comfort zone. One such moment I recall it happening was when I rode ‘The Smiler’ (the world’s record holding rollercoaster with the most inversions) at Alton Towers which I must admit was no easy feat for a lily-livered man such as I. There are others also, family members, friends, teachers, even people I have only met once through chance encounters.

I ask you reader, to think hard and think about who your hero is? Who has encouraged you to be the best you can be? Made you do things you never would have done by yourself and made you so glad they encouraged you to do so? For me that would be much more of an ice breaker than any superhero could be.

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