As Tough for the Platonic as it is for the Romantic

Geoffrey Allen, Viewpoints Editor

A couple days ago, I walked through the library trying to find my carrel for the first time (I know, I’m so late to the party as a senior). Just as I catch one of my close friends doing her work, I see another carrel, an empty one. This carrel, with a printed name on a yellow slip of paper guarded by a golden outline, stopped me in my place. It was a familiar name, one that I once talked about everyday for three years like it was the latest football game. But now, it is just a mere shadow to me, a relic to the person I was. That is because they don’t go to the College anymore, nor do I have intentions to see them ever again. A friendship we once had was gone, but not forgotten. I made a choice, as a student and independent individual, to change the balance of my life. Ending a friendship can be just as hard as breaking up the romance.

The College of Wooster is a school with the motto of “Independent Minds Working Together,” but I do not believe that is always to be the case. Since my first year, I have learned what it feels like to have a friendship, once cherished, decay. While I have continued to grow, many of my initial relationships that I have formed here, many of my firsts, are no longer in my life. As an underclassmen, I was naïve like most people coming of age. I tried to justify the damaging mistakes I made in relationships by taking advantage of other people or testing personal boundaries. It’s a human thing that many of us fail to recognize the first time, until it’s too late. It was very hard to see it happen at first because, prior to this experience, I found it hard to believe that certain issues could never be resolved or some grudges could never be forgiven. But not all of these were my choice to make. We can’t beg for things to go back to the way they were, it’s all part of changing.

But most of all, I have learned to grieve the people who I have lost here. At first, like a breakup, one might feel very vulnerable, as if there is no possible route onwards without their former friends. Yet we do find a way to continue, ever so slowly, with our support system of other friends and family, adopting new approaches to life, and recapturing the joys of being present. Perhaps it takes a couple weeks, or maybe a couple months. Sometimes it will take years. That is what loss is in our lives afterall. It’s only healthy that it affects us in different ways.

The end of my friendship with the owner of the carrel was an accumulation of my past mistakes as an individual. Now, I can personally see my past self’s role reversed where my boundaries and principles were at stake of being contradicted if I continued to support their actions. I felt that I needed to separate myself from that person whether they wanted to or not. It was my choice to make. 

As a senior, my experiences are all in the past. But some of you readers are just beginning. This is not to alarm those who should be worried about the friends you’ve just made here. Wooster is full of great and beautiful minds, whom I look forward to seeing what they’ll do next every day, including those I reflect on today. That said, we have to keep moving. The show must carry on if we are to succeed even if constant self reflection remains. If you can get over your crazy ex partner, this too will pass.

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