Learning to Be a Good Friend

As a senior in high school few things are as exciting and terrifying as the idea of beginning college. And for good reason: the person you once were in high school is no longer relevant, as college creates the opportunity to discover your real self. However, being a little fish in a big pond makes this process a bit complicated, as there are many obstacles that may stand in the way.

For me, it took a series of awkward conversations with random floor mates to realize that making friends wasn’t going to happen overnight. Making friends in high school seemed effortless, as I had a standing reputation where my peers all knew and understood my values. However, all of this history became irrelevant the moment I stepped onto my college campus. Everything that was once associated with my name essentially disappeared. If I wanted to be known as a good friend I had to prove it to my new peers. This concept that my new friends didn’t really know my true values was hard for me to grasp in the beginning. In the past, when I might have acted selfishly, I figured my friends knew me well enough to give me a pass, so it’s fine this once. Yet, how were my new friends supposed to know the difference between what I normally do versus what I normally don’t do? After a few experiences making similar decisions, I realized that unlike my home friends these girls may not accept my stupid mistakes. As soon as I had this realization I was determined to show my new friends how much I valued each their friendship. This change of outlook was the best thing to happen to me my freshman year. Not only did this allow my prior friendships to grow stronger, it also allowed my horizons to expand as the year continued.

Many people advise up-and-coming freshman about the dangers of drinking, and the difficulties of managing time in college. These are all very important things to be familiar with as a new freshman, however, no one ever advised me on the importance of building yourself as a friend. The college experience can’t be done alone — your college friends will be your foundation, which is why it is crucial to build strong and lasting friendships throughout your time in college. Being a good friend in college is much more than liking someone’s Instagram or going to the dining hall to get lunch. It’s about the times that you stay in with your friend when she’s sad about a boy, or the late night review sessions for the test she has in the morning, that really prove who you are and want to be as a friend.

Melanie, Class of 2019