Post written by Bronwyn Graham, Mental Health and Wellbeing Assistant
UBC is big. Really, really, big. I came to the Vancouver campus as a first year knowing that I’d be just one of over 50,000 students. But it wasn’t until Imagine Day, when I was surrounded by an Olympic-sized arena full of other first-year students, that the magnitude of campus really hit me. There was a moment amongst my 7000+ “classmates” where I was overwhelmed by the realization that I was but one small fish in a very big pond.
Despite there being a huge number of students at UBC, how was I going to connect with people? How was I going to find my place?
As it turned out, meeting people didn’t prove to be that hard. There are lots of opportunities to meet like-minded students in residence, at organized events, and through the hundreds of clubs on campus. After overcoming my fear of rejection (an incredibly common and arguably natural fear most students won’t admit to feeling), I took the initiative and introduced myself to classmates, neighbours, and people at events. And within a matter of weeks I had quickly formed a network of friends. However, what took real work was sustaining those relationships throughout my undergraduate degree
Developing and maintaining relationships takes effort, and with all the demands placed on students, friendships and relationships can drop in priority (especially when life gets hectic!) But it’s during these stressful times that we need the support of our friends the most.
Although there is no singular definition of what a ‘healthy relationships’ looks like, respectful and caring partnerships with friends and loved ones often include these five elements:
Healthy relationships are based on these core elements, and setting boundaries is a great way to honour these five elements, all the while keeping relationships respectful and secure. There’s nothing that compares to the continued support and feeling of happiness and comfort that healthy relationships can offer. In fact, they can strengthen all aspects of your life: your health, your wellbeing, and your academics! University is full of exciting opportunities, and having great people to share those experiences with will add meaning to your time spent at UBC.
This framework also allows us to handle the conflicts and tensions that inevitably occur. The important thing is to make sure to try to resolve these conflicts by sticking to the present issues, and not bringing up issues from the past.
The relationships I’ve fostered during my time here at UBC have been incredible. They’ve allowed me to experience huge personal growth and happiness. They’ve also been a huge stress release! And, in the end, it’s the connections with great people, and the memories those connections inspired that I will look back on as some of the greatest moments of my time at UBC.