The Head, Nicola Huggett

A few thoughts on Friendship

My experiences this weekend, alongside the other 500,000 parents dropping their children off at university, reminded me how unsettling change can be in any arena (at least for parents if not for children). A new start at university or in a new job is just as challenging as the first few weeks at a new school - the only difference is that you are not supposed to need as much help. You certainly do need help though, no matter how old you are, and it reminded me how important friendship is, and the responsibility we all have in making that process easier for each other.

On the touchline on Saturday afternoon, I spoke to some of the OBs who had returned to watch the 1st XV before they went off to university too. It was interesting to hear from a few of them how much of a culture shock it is to leave behind all that you have known for the last 2, 5, 7 or even 13 years as you have to start out getting to know new people and building friendships.

I am sure all those who are new to Blundell’s can relate to that feeling too, and I hope by now, that others have helped you to settle in and find your way around.

There are a few useful points to remember when you are settling in to a new place and they include getting involved, trying to volunteer or sign up to do different things and being a good listener. It is a useful principle to think about the 70:30 rule - 70 % listening and 30% talking. If you can listen well, you learn quickly and you might be surprised how open other people might become.

Some people certainly seem to find popularity comes easily to them, and in turn, it is easy to be envious of that. But in the end, we all have times when we feel vulnerable and it is at those times that we must be open to one another’s help.

C S Lewis, the famous author and philosopher once said "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

I hope if you are feeling that you are the only one who still doesn’t know how things work and where things are, then you will not be too shy to ask. And for those who already know their way around, perhaps you can reflect on another of my favourite quotes about being a friend "There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate." (Linda Grayson)