The only way to keep up with my friends from home seems to be looking through their social media accounts. I see post after post of my friends at their colleges surrounded by new friends and laughter. This isn’t how I pictured college to be because I thought I’d be the one to post all of those pictures.
Instead, I spend the majority of my day in my dorm studying and doing homework. I do have friends: six of them. At first, I felt as if I was missing out on the college experience because of the lack of fun I thought I was having. I complained to my parents about how all of my friends are having the time of their lives at college and I was suffering. I tried to make new friends, but they weren’t the same. It is a shock to go from being one of the more “popular” people in school to barely having any friends. I didn’t want to seem pathetic to my old friends by complaining to them, but one day one of them complained to me.
Now this was one of the girls who was popular, just like I was, at our high school. She told me how she barely had any friends and any true fun. She only posted on social media to make it seem as if she was having an amazing time at college. In reality, she was going through exactly what I was. This made me start to reflect on our situations.
Since when did college become a popularity contest? Sure, college has cliques and there are students that are more “popular” than others. Just because I had a small number of friends did not mean they meant any less to me. These people can make me laugh until my stomach hurts, always make sure I am doing okay, and constantly have my best interest in mind. How could I ever let myself become so absorbed into thinking a surplus amount of friends determined the memories that I will make throughout the years?
I feel ridiculous as I look back on how selfish and naive I was being. The amount of friends I have or don’t have is not a measure of my own self worth. Everyone deserves to have a good college experience, but it doesn’t start by trying to compete for friendships. Instead, cherish the friends you do have no matter what the number is. Take the time to study the extra 20 minutes for the quiz you have tomorrow. Listen to your body and always remember that self care is the best way to feel refreshed. Go on that field trip you’re nervous about and try out for the sport you’ve always wanted to play even if you don’t have the experience.
College is a time for new beginnings and there is no room for self loathing or complaining. To have the time of your life at college does not start at having a huge friend group, it starts when you recognize all of the potential you hold. Just like I did.