The Transformative Power of Friendship

Shannon - Annapolis, Maryland
Entered on March 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in the transformative power of friendship. Every friendship has the power to change you in subtle ways, but it is our truest friends that can really shape the course of our lives and influence us to become better people.

I met my dearest friend during the summer break before my senior year in college. It was pure chance that we became friends at all – we were both at a backyard barbeque, and I was complaining about my current living situation. He overheard me and said “I have an extra room at my place.” Even though we barely knew each other, I jumped on the offer because I figured that an unknown roommate was better than a situation that was already bad.

I knew within about two hours of moving in that we would be friends. It turned out that each of us had packed a crate full of books to read over the summer, and we spent that first afternoon exploring each others’ crate. Soon we were swapping books back and forth, and that was only the beginning. We did all sorts of things that summer…he had just returned from a month in Italy and was bursting with excitement about Italian language and food. So I started learning a bit about how to make a good gnocchi…and how to pronounce it properly. We made our way through every flavor of Ben and Jerry’s. We watched “A Room with a View” over and over. We tried to come up with the ultimate cocktail. I sensed, almost immediately, that I had found a soulmate: someone whose thoughts and passions seem to match yours without effort.

Over the seven years that we have been friends, I have discovered new passions and talents through our friendship; some of them are a result of that very first summer. I lived in Italy for a year and can now speak Italian. I went to culinary school and learned to make outstanding ice cream. I have read books and been introduced to things that I never would have come across otherwise. While it is wonderful to be able to put my finger on the tangible ways our friendship has influenced my life, I think the most important influence this friendship has had on me is that it has cultivated my passion. I am no longer willing to dream about something without doing my best to pursue it. When we visit one another, or after we talk on the phone, or e-mail, my desire to learn and grow and be the very best version of myself possible is renewed. And I believe that this power of friendship to change us is one of the greatest gifts that we, as friends to one another, can give.