MANY PEOPLE pass by along Baikyang-ro, yet how many of these people have become a special part of you? Not many. University is a place where so many people with diverse backgrounds come together, so friendship may take quite a different form. Regarding this, The Yonsei Annals surveyed 105 Yonseians on what they think about friendship as a Yonseian.
Feelings of gratitude and dislike towards friends
Aside from the usual days with friends, there are some occasions when you may suddenly feel thankful towards your friend. In a way, such gratitude reflects what Yonseians value the most in friendship. A total of 36% of Yonseians replied that they feel grateful when their friend provides counseling. There is no better treat than your friend giving helpful advice after you pour out your troubles to him or her. Also, about a third of respondents (30%) said that they appreciate it when their friend remembers specific details about them. Maybe a friend remembered you saying that you like a certain item on the shopping window and bought you that as a birthday gift. Consoling someone's troubles and remembering minor details about that person requires continuous attention, and Yonseians seem to value this in friendship.
On the other hand, the result to the question when Yonseians dislike their friend corresponds with when they feel thankful. A total of 37% answered that they disapprove it when their friend contacts them only whenever he or she needs help; he or she may have not made much contact at all until the exam period, asking for the class notes out of the blue. To many Yonseians, such behavior should be avoided between friends.
Are college friends different from grade school friends?
Most Yonseians would have bid their farewells with their old friends and stepped into the new world of campus life; then reflecting on their school life, how do Yonseians feel about friendship on campus? More than half (58%) of respondents said that college friends mean something different from friends made until high school.
For university students, it takes more effort than before to keep in contact with friends and maintain friendships, or else the relationships might easily become superficial. There are about 20,000 students on campus, and each has a different class schedule and is busy paving his or her own road toward different goals. It is certainly a different environment than when we were with the same students in the same classroom for the entire year, taking the same classes. Therefore the fact that some friends contact you only when they need help may be sad but inevitable.
On the other hand, that college friends are different from old friends does not contain only a negative meaning. College friends are those with whom you spend most of the time during the crucial stage before going out into the society. After all, 41% of Yonseians answered that with college friends, they tend to talk about slightly heavier topics such as schoolwork, career, or employment. This implies that, facing the same worries and problems prior to entering the society, college friends are also companions to cheer each other up and give advice to each other.
How did you meet your closest college friends?
Just as if we used to easily be friends with those in the same class during earlier school years, Yonseians seemed to have found the department/ban system useful to befriend new people. A total of 56% replied that their closest friends are those of the same major or in the same ban. Yet it is interesting that more students replied that they participate in dongahree or academic society activities (48%) than in department or ban activities (19%). Hence most Yonseians seemed to have made their closest friends probably during their freshmen year when they initially started their college life through ban activities.
Regardless of when or where they met their best friends, personality was the most important factor when forming friendship for the majority of Yonseians (64%). Obviously what makes us more intimate with a friend than others would be because certain personalities compliment each other, making it easier to understand each other and share common thoughts and experiences.
Do you make a conscious effort to make personal connections?
Many university students are advised to maintain their personal connections, which could be a source of information and help during and after university. Unexpectedly, to the question on whether they purposely meet and contact people, only 28% said they do. A total of 52% replied that networking may be important someday, but that currently they are not very concerned with it.
The surprising result that most Yonseians are not bothered about networking at the moment is manifested in the result that nearly half (49%) who are purposely making personal connections or plan to do so in the future replied that friends are the most important in their personal network. Again this is somewhat unexpected, with less people (27%) choosing "older and younger alumni." Thus, Yonseians may feel more intimate with their friends by spending most of the time together and facing common issues. It turns out that these friends, in the end, would turn out to be one of the prized assets even after graduating university.
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On anonymous online bulletin boards, some students lament on difficulties with human relationships, saying that people around them are too selfish and the relationship they have with other people is shallow. However, try to show concern and give attention to people around you; then just as if many Yonseians feel grateful when a friend shows concern and attention towards them, you would discover those with whom you can board a long-lasting, unbreakable ship: friendship!
Graph 1. I felt most grateful to my friend when he/she ________________________
Provides console and advice 36%
Remembers a minor detail about me 30%
Looks after me when I am sick 15%
Sides with me no matter what 12%
Lends money when I am urgent 3%
Helps me with studies 3%
2. I got to dislike my friend when he/she ________________________
Calls only whenever he/she needs help 37%
Does not apologize for his/her mistake 23%
Does not keep his/her promise 19%
Acts superior 8%
Is too modest 5%
Only talks about himself/herself 3%
3. Do you feel college friends are different from friends before university?
Not sure 11%
4. How did you make your best friend in college?
From the same department/ban 56%
From the same dongahree or academic society 27%
Have already known each other before university 9%
While taking the same lecture 7%
5. Are you currently making an effort in making personal connections?
Not now, but I will plan to do so in the future 52%
Yes, I am currently making such effort 27%
I am not concerned about personal connections at all 19%
Not sure 2%
6. Who do you regard as the most important in personal networks? (Total 85 respondents)
Older or younger alumni 27%
Acquaintances with career of interest 10%