We’ve come a long way from Year 9 to now.

Part of my journey as a Year 13 student was a talk at the beginning of the year from the careers department about our future. Earlier this year, on the 23rd of February to be exact, came said careers’ talk. A deputy principal talked with us about scheduling appointments with the counsellors and preparing for university applications.

But for those who were still unsure, she asked us a simple question:

What is your ‘why’?

It was a simple question, yet it made no sense…

As an example of asking ourselves our ‘why’, the deputy principal used the question, “Why are you my friend?”

Again, a simple question. My friends are my friends because they are kind, caring, and always willing to listen. But that’s what friends are supposed to do, isn’t it?

The deputy principal then continued with her example. “Our ‘why’s come from an emotional place and, as humans, we are not readily able to express that. You have to keep asking ‘why’ and dig deeper to find out the ‘real why’.”

She was right about our ‘why’s coming from an emotional place; every time someone asked me the question, I found it so hard to express why I have the friends I have now. I would give a generic answer like, “I like your company” or “You’ve got really funny jokes”. I would keep asking myself ‘why’, ‘why’, and ‘why’, until I figured not having an answer was a good enough answer, too.

Our ‘why’s come from an emotional place and, as humans, we are not readily able to express that. You have to keep asking ‘why’ and dig deeper to find out the ‘real why’.

Later that evening, I decided to ask the question to one of my closest friends. I wrote a long paragraph about how I was grateful for the sympathy he gave me and the comfort he offered when I was at my lowest; I thanked him for the gifts he gave me for birthdays and holidays; I thanked him for being the confidante I would always treasure in my life.

On Tumblr, there’s a user with the name viridianmasquerade. They made a post with the words, “I am a mosaic of everyone I have ever loved, even for a heartbeat.”

It’s safe to say that this friend has changed my habits, and also changed my perspective on life. He taught me how to give back through gifts (though I could never measure up to the effort and thought he gave me); he taught me the importance of spending quality time. He is the caregiver person I always strove to be.

I’m part of a little trio that isn’t as close anymore, but they were the backbone of my crazy journey at Macleans. The three of us were in Hillary house together, in the same form class. The first, E (for her privacy), I had gotten to know from Year 9 camp. We were the quiet, introverted bunch that had similar interests. The second, S (again, for privacy reasons), came the year after. She was fresh out of Canada and I volunteered to show her around the school.

At first, it was just me & E and me & S; completely separate relationships. Then came a creative writing assessment in English where we needed beta readers.

It didn’t occur to me that it was to be done in groups of three, just that I needed two other people to critique my work. So, I had chosen E and S without realizing we became a trio for the assignment. It initially threw E out, understandably, but we ended up appreciating each other’s critiques. We all had something different to say about our writings. Even after the assignment and into our senior years, we would ask each other to proofread our work before submitting it. We call our trio ‘Beta Readers’, and even as we’ve gone our separate ways after Year 12, we still lean on each other for support.

“I am a mosaic of everyone I have ever loved, even for a heartbeat.”

@viridianmasquerade, Tumblr

So, why do you have the friends you have? Their company? Their kindness? There’s no right answer to the question. There’s no wrong answer, either.

Friends are vital for your time at Macleans; they make life a little less stressful and, maybe, you’ll make friends for a lifetime.

(I certainly hope the people I mentioned above will still be my friends in the future.)

May 18th, 2023
Clarissa Oblefias

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