The bonds of friendship here at SJC are among the strongest I have ever seen. People come away from this place with friends that will stay in touch for the rest of their lives. It has been an honour to have experienced this.
A few months ago, I was discussing this topic with Patrick, my friend and neighbour down the hall. Patrick has been here longer than I have, he has seen more and has had more time to reflect on the community that is St. John’s College. He told me time at SJC isn’t the same as time out in the real world. We live in “concentrated” time as he called it.
As explained further, it made more sense to me. In the real world during the week, most people get up, go to work, and come home. Most people see their friends during the weekend, maybe once during the weekday. In an average month, you’ll get to spend some quality time with your friends maybe four times, eight if you’re lucky.
At SJC, the community is such that you’ll probably eat dinner at the dining hall with your friends at least five times a week. You most likely share one meal with them during the weekend as well. That’s six times a week you’ll get to interact with them. And that’s just at dinner. I’m not counting trips to the movies and a night at the local pub. In an average month, that’s twenty-four opportunities to strengthen friendships.
Compared to the real world, that’s three to six times more interaction in a given month here at SJC. No wonder we get to know each other so well here.
I was talking to Adam recently about Pat, a resident who left about two weeks ago. He’d been here only 11 months, but Adam said he felt like he’d known Pat for years now. In a sense, he was right. It wasn’t really 11 months, it was more like three years in real time.
When I leave here at the end of the month, I will have known some of my SJC friends for about two years. Conservatively, that’s about six years in real time. When I think about it, that feels just about right.