I'm Jealous of my Friends

When my friends and I graduated high school almost two years ago, I felt relief on all fronts. High school had been anything but the best four years of my life, and I was looking forward to jumping into a new life with the start of university. I was in high spirits, having gotten first round acceptances to the schools I had applied to, and especially about getting into the school I’d hoped to go to since the beginning of high school. I was excited to celebrate all of our accomplishments with my friends, and start making new memories.

Except neither of my best friends ended up pursuing a post-secondary education.

One of my friends decided to begin working right away as she tried to figure out what she wanted to go to school for, while the other took a victory lap for similar reasons. I didn’t fault them for their decision, knowing myself how expensive school would be, but I was disheartened by the fact that we weren’t starting the exciting chapter of post-secondary education together. I almost instantly felt highly isolated from my best friends, mostly because they had stayed at home and I had moved for school. Despite the short distance, our schedules made it—even now—almost impossible for us to make plans more than once or twice every few months.

Experiencing the thrills and downfalls of my first year of university hit me hard because I didn’t have anybody to share that experience with. I had trouble making friends on campus and my friends back home couldn’t relate to the struggles I faced with university classwork. Whenever we were able to meet up that first year, I almost felt guilty dominating the conversation because my life had changed so drastically whilst theirs had remained relatively unchanged. The problems they told me about—either working or taking high school classes—seemed trivial and unimportant in the grand scheme of my life, as I was not only taking harder classes and working part-time, but I also wasn’t living at home like they were.

Close to the end of my first year, I became excited, hoping to see my friends sending along messages saying they’d been accepted to the college programs I knew they had started to look into. Yet, February of 2018 came and went with barely a peep, and I soon found out that neither of my friends had applied because they “still didn’t know what they wanted to do.”

I felt like I was being drawn further and further away from them as they remained glued in the past and I trekked into the future. When second year started, I attempted to make more friends on campus through various means, like joining the marketing team of the King’s University College school magazine and Her Campus, because I realized I couldn’t rely on my friends from high school being close by my side like I had been expecting.

Now, as February has rolled around again, I find myself full of resentment, and yes, jealousy. Not only did both of my friends apply for college, both of them got accepted, and neither even told me about it. I found out about their acceptances through social media like one of the other random people dominating their “friends” list. It felt like a slap in the face, declaring to me that despite our friendship they didn’t care to share the exciting news with me. Not only that, but I remembered the excitement of getting acceptances and imagining your future studying that certification or degree. I also found myself resentful that they get to experience that feeling now while I’m bogged down in the stress of my almost half-completed degree. This, in many ways, made me feel even more disconnected from my friends

It’s not that I’m not happy for my friends—really, I am. I just feel so much resentment about the fact that we never got to have the experience of entering the next chapter of our lives together. And now when they finally get to start the next chapter in their lives, I’ve already opened my door and settled in quite comfortably in the room beyond. Once they start their degrees we won’t suddenly become closer again, because they’ll be experiencing the things that come along with being in first year, while I’ll be in my third year looking forward to my final years and trying to figure out what comes after for me.

I try not to feel jealous that my friends get to experience together the thing that I’ve been inadvertently left out of, but I find it hard not to. I know we shouldn’t compare our successes to one another, but despite being almost halfway done my degree, I almost feel like they’re moving past me, having been out in the world for two years and now starting a certification or diploma program.

I want to feel the sort of excitement they’re feeling at being in post-secondary education for the first time, not the familiar stress of midterms and exams I’ve come to know and despise. I want to be in the innocent place with them and be able to talk about our experiences together as they are happening, not feel like some wise elder as they excitedly talk about their first year experiences and I lament on my own university days long past.

So yeah, I’m jealous of my friends, but more because I wish we could be excited about our futures together right now, rather than being disconnected by the paths our lives have taken. Of course, I wish my friends all the successes in their endeavours, just like they wished me when I left them back home and started my journey in university. I’m excited for them, but also sad that I’ll never get to experience the euphoria of shared celebration over post-secondary acceptances with my best friends like so many other groups of friends did.


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