Friendship and Diversity Go Hand in Hand

I often take for granted the unique blend of cultures that makes up our campus and city. Fort Collins is a montage of lifestyles, and just about anyone can settle in comfortably and quickly, no matter their origin. Friendships, new and old, are abundant here.

Perhaps my living in Fort Collins for the last year allowed me to forget that; although I share many interests and have made countless memories with my friends here, there are bound to be some differences in our definitions of a good time. Case in point: last Monday.


Heeding the call from my farm-girl roots, I decided there was no better way to spend the last day before spring semester than to haul a group of my city-bound friends to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. (Even Tony Frank makes an annual trip to the Stock Show, cowboy hat and all) I mean, who doesn’t get excited about pig shows, fancy trailers, and top-of-the-line cows and bulls?

Not everyone, apparently.

The first half of our day consisted of my playing the role of tour guide extraordinaire, babbling off facts that I had learned growing up around livestock. When I realized my poor friends were feeling a bit overwhelmed by my spiel on cattle breeds and livestock showing techniques, I took a step back. Looking around, it occurred to me that the group of people standing around me came from many different backgrounds and hometowns.

I was suddenly very aware of the diverse mixture of experiences and upbringings that make up my friends. Something, call it fate, had brought all of us from our corners of the world to Fort Collins and caused our paths to cross. Complete strangers had met, found some sort of common ground, and decided to hang out together. That’s the thing about friendship — it’s random and it’s beautiful. There are no prerequisites — it’s not entirely necessary that you have everything in common, or that you like the same things. If you get along, consider it a friendship and go from there.

For the remainder of our Stock Show adventure, I chilled out a bit and learned to appreciate the things that excited my not-so-rural friends. Petting a heifer was a big deal, and everyone found entertainment in the mutton busting, a rodeo event in which young children are placed on sheep, told to hang on, and let loose in an arena. My friends got very close to some 2,000-pound Angus bulls, and experienced the loud, fast-paced craziness that is a cattle sale barn. It was refreshing, and almost comical, to see their interest and enjoyment in many of the things I had considered ordinary and hardly noteworthy.

My friends are all so different from me, yet we click. It’s not only incredible, but somewhat surprising that it works at all. I can now learn to appreciate the differences that we all have, and can let that change how I view the world around me. Not just in a stock show, but also in classes and my future career, I have to remember that the people around me come from very different walks of life; the things that are commonplace to me might be some kind of adventure to them.

I don’t think I need to expound on the value of a good friend. Anyone who has one gets it: they’re awesome. What I will say is never take for granted the phenomenon that brought you and your friends together. Maybe your parents ended up in the same place and you’ve known each other since you were babies. Maybe you started out as coworkers somewhere. Maybe you got lucky in roommate roulette.  Maybe you took the same class and met right here at our beloved University. There are thousands of different ways that you can cross paths with the people around you, decide that you like each other, and become friends.

Whatever the case, one of the people in this world of 7 billion became your friend and your life is better because of it. Somehow, the people that you choose to surround yourself with make your life more manageable and a lot more fun: I’ll high-five to that.

In Brief:

Friendships new and old are abundant here in Fort Collins and all friends come from different walks of life


The things that I see as commonplace can be unheard of to my friends.

Don’t take for granted the phenomenon that brought you and your friends together