Navigating New Friendships With Sokvy
When I was in Cambodia, I knew that my journey to the U.S. through SHE-CAN is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I believed it is going to be a transformative time for me. However, it took me quite a bit of time to understand and feel the transformation I was experiencing. After spending three semesters at the University of Portland, one thing I have learned about myself is that making new friends and meeting new people is something I really enjoy doing and that has made a great impact in my life. Being born and raised in rural Cambodia, I would describe myself as a very introverted person. I had only a couple friends when I was in Cambodia, but those couple friends are my best friends. I remember limiting myself not to be friends with new people unless those people share a lot in common with me. When I just moved to America, my SHE-CAN mentors, Cynthia and Liz, used to tell me that they have friends who play different roles in their life. Cynthia added that it is hard to find one person who obtains all the friendship criteria that we need. Honestly, at first I had been questioning if those ideas were going to work for me.
However, after coming to UP, I started to realize that of course I am not always going to meet people who fulfill the definition of friendship that I had always defined. For the first time, I gently allowed myself to experience something that I at first thought might not be what I wanted. It was very difficult and tiring at first to push myself for something that is in contradiction between my heart and my mind. I became good friends with people who have different backgrounds and personalities from me, and I believed the old me would have chosen a completely different turn on those friendships. I learned that the willingness to try something new, although it is a little uncomfortable at first, is extremely important. I learned that every person that comes into our life always has something for us to learn from if we keep ourselves a little open and allow them to be a part of our life. Just like what my mentors Liz and Cynthia told me, I learned that all my friends that I made at UP are important; they just play different roles in my life. No matter what role my friends play in my journey here at UP, I appreciate our friendships.
In addition to my new friends that I have made during my time here at UP, I am grateful for the friendships that I have with my SHE-CAN sisters. My new friends and my SHE-CAN sisters have helped make my time here a lot more fun and a more growing experience each day. I look forward to our time together for the rest of the semester and making more memories with them.