FRIENDLY FACES is a casual conversation amongst friends about life, education and growing up.
This issue’s face: Florian (age 20)
Heya friendly face, introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Florian, 20 years old, a student of Molecular Biotechnology since last September and a passionate gamer (even with real-life friends)
Molecular Biotechnology…what is that exactly? (sounds like something for really smart people)
We specialise in the medical fields of molecular biotechnology that are beneficial to and help humans, which basically means we look at processes that happen in cells and how to change cells in order for us humans to use it to our advantage. For example we look at genetic material to research heritable genetic illnesses and work to treat these illnesses more effectively.
Liking it so far?
YEEEEESSS. Of course there are some courses in the mix that aren’t the most exciting, but there isn’t really anything where I would say that it’s useless or, compared to some subjects in school, as bad. The lectures aren’t the only interesting thing though – my collegues, a lot of which I already count as great friends, also play a big part. The whole experience is just completely different than school.
Now, for those who don’t know, we’ve known each other how long now?
I’d like to know that myself. I believe five or six years now.
Didn’t realise it was that long already! Time really does fly…do you remember what we did the first time we met?
You probably remember better than I do because you wrote it in your diary. We were at the cinema, I don’t know anything about the film we watched anymore.
Yes, we watched “A Good Day To Die Hard”. Terrible movie, but I loved the company!
I know that your friend, Anna, was with us because your mum didn’t want you meeting up with a stranger by yourself. Anna wasn’t so happy about that.
Knowing each other for as long as we do, we basically went through puberty together. What was your overall experience like in that time period of your life?
Personally I don’t think that I went through “typical puberty” such as rebelling against everything your parents say or do. It was mostly stressful and burdening because my body changed so much and I was experiencing all of these things for the first time. You become a “real” person and it took me a lot of sleepless nights where I was on the verge of a mental breakdown to fully fathom it all. I wasn’t such a pain in the ass for my parents, unlike other teenagers. And I am happy that I have someone like you, with whom I grew into the person I am today. I don’t think that a lot of friendships get past puberty.
But we made it! As whole human beings (well nearly anyway). Speaking of body changes – I feel like self-love is a topic typically discussed regarding females. But surely men also have body image issues?
I can’t speak for every young man out there, but regarding myself I can only say “of course”. Us men naturally also see male models with their perfectly trained bodies. You just have to walk into a gym to see how many people are their to make their body look more “appealing”. In my eyes, working out at the gym has become a trend just like any other fashion trend.
I think a lot of girls don’t realise that boys go through similar issues, just like them.
Exactly! As example, I am 1,82 metres tall and weigh 55kg and have always been underweight. My weight doesn’t affect my health negatively, but I still have my issues with it. My body isn’t built like those of different hollywood actors and it weighs on my confidence and my self-worth when people don’t trust me with certain tasks because I am on the thinner end of the spectrum. Sometimes it also is a issue with women. I don’t want to badmouth a well-trained body but it isn’t the standard body type. But when the media presents this as the ideal body, people expect that in real life, so it generates this pressure to meet other people’s expectations.
What was the hardest thing for you growing up?
Did I ever talk to you back then about the fact that I was bullied?
Yes, but you were hesitant to talk to me about it back then.
I just realised that I never really had someone who stood up for me.
It was hard in my situation, we never went to the same school. I can remember you being really depressed for a long time before you actually filled me in on what was going on.
I know, it wasn’t meant as an accusation, but nobody in my class really ever came up to stand by me or say “hey, this is wrong”.
I know what you mean. The uninvolved just kind of all looked the other way. If I remember correctly you did inform your teacher though, didn’t you?
Well, kind of – my parents were the ones to call my teacher and we had a meeting with him. He was clearly overwhelmed with the situation.
I’m guessing he wasn’t really trained to deal with those types of situations.
Absolutely not. He played the whole situation down and never really did a lot to help me.
I think as a teacher it should be your responsibility to stand up for your students. Teachers should learn how to properly handle bullying situations so that they are prepared when something like that happens. And it happens quite a lot these days.
They should! Back then I was completely alone in dealing with the bullying.
One never forgets things as traumatising as that.
You forget the specifics but the feelings stick.
Well, I think that’s a good quote to end things on. I just wanted to say that I admire you for going through all that and still being as awesome as you are.
Thanks, I know that you mean that. And thank you for having me!