THE OVERUSED saying goes, “No man is an island.”

This may be true in several aspects, considering that man is a socially thriving being who devotes time meeting people and making friends. Without social interaction, man deteriorates and loneliness soon takes over.

At some point in their lives, children become acquainted with loneliness. It may be because their parents are too busy to be with them, or because they feel isolated by their peers. This is something I experienced as a child. I never really got to fully interact with people near my age group. For the longest time, I had only my nannies, parents, and cousins by my side, which I thought could have hindered the development of my social skills.

As a child, I never knew the feeling of going over a friend’s house, having a sleepover, or attending parties without my parents as chaperons. Social interaction during my elementary years was limited, as I was naïve. Perhaps it was because I thought differently from my peers, or maybe it was because I was used to being so loved by my parents that I thought others would feel the same.

Most of my peers would say that their high school days were the best part of their lives, but for me it was the worst—I lived the four loneliest and most bitter years of my life during that time. While everyone had her own barkada to hang out with, I was all by myself. Sure, I had some acquaintances, but they would all leave me behind once their friends entered the scene. Everyone had peers to express herself to, and as for me? I kept my feelings bottled up because the last time I tried, others misunderstood and hated me.

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At that time, I welled up with the tearful thought that I must have been a horrible person not to have supportive and trusting friends like others did. Even the most stone-hearted criminals had friends, while my pitiful self had none.

I talked about it with my parents (who are until now the truest best friends I have), asking them why I couldn’t just be “normal.”

Why didn’t I have the lasting friendships my peers had? Why did God choose to write my life story this way?

Mother told me that God had plans for all of us, from the grandest scheme of our life story to the smallest detail of meeting friends. She prodded me not to hurry, because everything would fall into place, and that I would have the friends that I was looking for.

It didn’t offer much comfort at first, but seeing that I had no other choice, I chose to wait for the moment when God’s hand would write a brighter chapter in my life.

And brighten it did. I truly mean it when I say that my college years are the best years of my life. They are as bright as my high school years were dreary.

It is in college that I had all of my “firsts”: my first barkada (technically, they’re just my dorm mates, but they’re the closest thing I have to that), my first real “gimmick,” my first sleepover, and my first group outing!

In college, I also met my true “second family.” It is no small matter when I say that being a Varsitarian staffer changed my life. Being in the V has made me interact with a lot of people and it really has helped improve my social skills.

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These people—my dorm mates, some of my classmates and the V–have made me feel truly happy. I feel grateful because they have made my last year in UST worthwhile despite all the hardships and betrayals that I had to go through.

I have found in college what I constantly longed for: friends who would not backstab me, who would love and accept me for all my weaknesses, and who would tell me honestly who I am. What I thought was impossible for me to have back then is now a reality that I am truly blessed to have. Now, when I look back to the dark years of my “loneliest” days, I realize that this was God’s way of teaching me one of the most valuable lessons in life.

Everything does work out for the best in His own time. Julienne Krizia V. Roman

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