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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: College is the time to make friendships that last a lifetime

Many freshmen come into college with fantasies of grandeur. I say fantasies, and not delusions, because though some are unlikely, several actually do end up coming to fruition. Your dorm-mates might become your close friends, the cafeteria food might not consist solely of hamburgers and grilled cheese, and your long-distance relationship might last. But it is important to note the key word: might.

When I was preparing myself for college, people of all ages and types seemed to take impending-freshmanhood as an open invitation for unsolicited advice. It seems as though everyone takes your important milestone and tries to turn it into an excuse for their personal, never-ending nostalgia.

The central themes focused on late-night food runs, constant partying and an instant connection with everyone you meet. Therefore, my expectations for coming to college followed suit, especially for the latter.

Your friends in college can be the ones that will stand next to you on your wedding day, and the person you stand with at the altar with might be in your Spanish class or that new club you join. But don’t freak out if you make it halfway through your first semester and feel as though you haven’t made that sort of connection with anyone yet. Deep, meaningful friendships take time, and that’s something that has become clichéd to say, but still holds true.

Sure, you’ll likely end up ordering pizza at 1 a.m. with a few acquaintances, but you might not necessarily feel comfortable telling them you really miss your mom and want to go home—and that’s fine too.

The fun, superficial side of friendship is still important. Sharing clothes, exchanging notes and studying for exams together are all a part of the process of forming bonds with people. But, it can become lonely when all of your relationships revolve solely around Papa John’s Pizza and SparkNotes.

Social media tends to liven up everyone’s existences, even if that picture features the only time they left their bed all weekend. It can make you feel as though everyone is always doing something fun, and you’re just lagging behind. But do not feel guilty or ashamed for binge-watching Netflix, and do not assume everyone is happy simply because they are smiling in a Facebook photo.

The façade social media creates goes so far beyond likes and filters—it has become our way of relating to the world and relating to ourselves. Do not let the apparent joy of others disturb your joy, or dictate what it should look like.

In a nutshell, college is weird. Those three words sum it up better than any self-help book your aunt will give you for your birthday. It has ups and downs, just like everything else. Studying in the library until 2 a.m. sounds like a rite of passage—but in actuality, it just sucks.

There might be tears, and there might be feelings of complete hopelessness that aren’t remotely post-worthy. And that, too, is okay. Remembering that every bit of your journey is uniquely your own will assist you immensely when feeling like things aren’t going as they “should.”

Strike that word from your vocabulary, hold on for the ride, and experience four—or maybe more—years of tremendous growth and excitement that can’t occur anywhere else.

Follow Stephanie Shaw on Twitter.

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