This I Believe

Ryan - State College, Pennsylvania
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30


Legendary singer song-writer, James Taylor, once posed the question, “Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?” When I am sick, feeling down, or stressed out, I always feel that it is good to have a friend to talk too. I believe in the importance of friendship to get me through the tougher times in life. I consider many people in my life my friends. My friendships aren’t confined to my own age group; my parents are my friends, my fraternity brothers are my friends, my co-workers over the summer are my friends. Friendship is a give and take relationship; I believe that if my friends are there for me, I must be able to support them at all costs.

One night over dinner when I was ten years old, my parents were sharing stories about various friendships they had throughout their lives. After each story, I would ask them where these people had gone. When they told me that they had lost touch or moved on, I was mortified. As a fifth- grader, I could not imagine not seeing some of my friends again. I finally understood this concept when I met my friend Chang- Sup in the seventh grade. Chang-Sup and his family had moved to America from South Korea because his dad was a diplomat to the United Nations. We quickly befriended him into our inner circle and he went everywhere with us. The fact that he spoke little English made no difference to our friendship. His parents were delighted that he was getting to experience a different culture. My parents brought him to Coney Island, four of us went to basketball camp at Penn State, and I would have him over for the Jewish holidays. He was a happy go lucky kid whom we all enjoyed being with. As we were getting ready to enter high school, Chang-Sup told us that he was moving back to South Korea. I finally understood what my parents had told me, friends were going to come in and out of my life. Although Chang-Sup was always there to put a smile on my face, we had to say goodbye. For those two years Chang-Sup was one of my best friends. Although we were extremely different, our friendship broke all the barriers between our different cultures.

As I graduate college in three weeks, I realize that there are friends that I might not see again. Some friends I will see once a year and we will enjoy each others company. As James Taylor said, “You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again.” In different stages of our lives, people come along and new friendships are born. As long as I have friendship, I believe I have all the love and support I need.

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