A common place at a common time
April 24, 2009
Filed under Archives
Bella and Tarra live in Tennessee at an elephant sanctuary, and just like all the other female elephants, they have formed a best girlfriend attachment. The only difference between Bella and Tarra – Bella is a dog. About 12 stray dogs live at the sanctuary, and all but Bella keep their distance from the elephants.
Bella and Tarra sleep, play, and eat together, and when Bella had to spend three weeks in the on-site hospital, Tarra kept vigil outside the hospital the entire time.
After Bella’s recovery, workers found Tarra rubbing Bella’s belly with her foot, revealing the trust level between the two animals.
Their friendship formed simply because they ended up at a common place at a common time. This elephant-and-dog friendship probably mirrors some of our friendships that we have found at Guilford.
Maybe you formed friendships between different people from different states, countries, social classes, or races. All of these situations might normally have kept you from ever knowing each other in the real world.
But because you came to Guilford, the common place at the common time broke down the barriers and divisions to help forge a friendship.
Now, for some of us, graduation is going to separate the place and time, but that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to our friendships.
The unlikely friendships that we have found at Guilford can follow us wherever we go thanks to text messaging, e-mail and nationwide calling packages.
I recently directed a wedding for a twenty-something friend. When she introduced me to her bridal party, I realized they were all her friends from college. Four years after their college graduation, their friendships are still strong.
Currently, they all live in different states and even different countries, but they made a commitment to keep the friendships and stay in touch.
They have kept a vigil over each other, not outside a hospital like Tarra, but simply through technology.
Guilford also provides graduates technological ways to stay in touch.
Alumni have access to an online directory that allows searches and contacts with each other. The directory provides a place to update personal contact information and photos.
Alumni are also offered an e-mail account for life, but in order to stay connected, you have to sign up by visiting www.GuilfordConnections.com.
Whatever method you choose to stay connected, it does takes energy and commitment. Don’t grab your diploma, make a promise to stay in touch, and then never make an effort.
If the only thing we bring away from our time at Guilford is a piece of paper, and no real connection with people, then we have missed a well-rounded education.
Thankfully, I haven’t missed out.
Even though I’m a 42-year-old graduate, I am so thankful that I have shared a common place and a common time with people who I never would have met 20 years ago.
These people have touched my life in such a way that I know I’ll never be the same.
My degree is valuable, but my friendships hold a greater value.