The friendships you have in college differ from the ones in the past because these people become your second family. The family members you grew up with may live hours or miles away, but your friends will most likely live across the street or on campus with you. Total strangers can grow to love each other so quickly and bring each other safety in such a short period of time. I think that’s part of the beauty of college because it creates certain bonds that cannot be broken.
My first realization of this kind of friendship occurred the first weekend of October when I had returned to campus after fall break. As a freshman in the honors program, I am lucky enough to have a suite so I share a bathroom with my roommate and two other girls. After working on a paper, I ended my night like I usually do with a shower. I recall having a stomach ache but connected it to stress when submitting the assignment an hour earlier. All of a sudden, the world went black even though my eyes were open. Before I could register what was happening, I woke up sprawled awkwardly within the tiny dorm shower confused and dizzy. I had never passed out before in my nineteen years of living, so I was shocked and had no idea what to do.
I got dressed and crawled out of the bathroom to grab my phone. As I scrolled through my contacts, I felt lost. It was late enough that my parents would be asleep, and there was little they could do from hours away. I decided to call my sister, but she failed to pick up. It was then that I reached out to one of my friends who I had met through my sorority. She picked up right away and, despite my resistance, she came to my dorm as fast as she could, calling people to let her into my building and bring her friend whose mother was a nurse.
This taught me who my true friends were. The people who lived around me saw me curled up in the hallway and never bothered to ask me if I was okay. My real friends helped me clean up my busted lip which was still bleeding and stayed with me until I felt comfortable falling asleep that night. These are now the girls who I love more than anything, and I am so grateful they are a part of my life.
One hard pill I was forced to swallow is that not everyone will like me. AND THAT IS OKAY! As a people pleaser, this is still something I am struggling with. Everyone wants to be friends when you come to college since you are all new and looking for people to spend time with. My biggest advice would be the following: be yourself. I’m sure it sounds cheesy and self-explanatory, but it tends to be a bit more difficult when you want to present the best version of yourself. If someone doesn’t care about you as much as you care about them, move on. It’s their loss. You are amazing and deserve unconditional love and support.
Try to surround yourself with who you feel comfortable with and who likes you for you. These are the people who will have your back for the long haul, and four years of earning an undergraduate degree definitely counts as the long haul. I learned who these friends were at my sorority’s formal night. No one gave me judgy expressions when I busted my terrible dance moves and cheered me on for barely leaving the dance floor. Instead, they joined in and had fun with me which made the night very memorable and one I will never forget. Don’t settle for the group that only wants you to drink with them or tries to coerce you to expose your body count. Friends come and go in college, especially during your first year. Choose the people who will help you grow and you love who you are when you are with them. They make your first year special and bring you the most smiles and memories to look back on.