I Couldn't Survive College Without My College Friends

I Couldn't Survive College Without My College Friends

Yes, this is just one giant appreciation post, but just let me have this one.

Throughout most of my life, I've been blessed with an amazing group of friends. I've felt lonely at times, but I've never failed to be reminded of the love I have with my friends when I most need it.

Friendship is incredibly important.

Sometimes, there are some things that friends do for you that no one else can do. They're often in the exact same positions as you; they know what you've been through, and they know what you need to hear. They know you, most importantly.

Sometimes, the advice that your friends can offer, no one else can.

Sometimes, the comfort they provide, no one else can.

Sometimes, they say, "Shit, me too, man," and that's enough.

Sometimes, they're just there for you, to hold your hand and tell you to relax. And most of the time, that's really important.

Sunday night, I had just come through a particularly stressful weekend, full of studying and crying and emotional baggage and panic attacks. Clearly, college is difficult. It can be too much at times, and you can feel overwhelmed and lost and scared. (And that's ok, as long as you don't quit.)

So, yes, that weekend was terrible for me. I was at the point of tears when conversation among my friends somehow came around to stress and losing weight because of it. I mentioned that I had lost 15 pounds in a month. Not an exaggeration. I was met with incredulous looks.

"That's not normal, dude."

No, it's most definitely not. It's because of stress, because of not eating, because of walking more than I used to, because of dance practice maybe... I don't know why.

But I do know that one day about a week ago, I looked up in the mirror and I realized that I didn't recognize myself. I really didn't. I didn't know whose face that was, because mine has always been rounder, with less-sunken eyes, with a smile, with less acne, with... And now? I don't look like me at all.

What's happened to me? Am I really just not adjusting to college as well as I could be? That's probably it. Am I not cut out for it? No, that's probably not it. I'm probably just taking longer to figure myself out.

I'd been feeling these conflicting, racing thoughts for so long, and Sunday night, I spilled them to my friends. A few close, trusted friends. (Yes, I've only known them for a month and a half, but they already feel like family to me.)

So, I told them, and they dropped their work to talk to me about this. They helped me realize that I need to stop worrying so much. That no matter what, my mental health comes first. They gave me my much-needed pep talk. They asked me what they could do to help.

They asked me what they could do to help.

When I said it wasn't their responsibility, they responded with, "We love you, and it's not a responsibility. We care about you and want you to be happy. It's not a responsibility, it's what we want to do."

What do you say to that? What an amazing group of people. Friends are so important. These simple words filled my heart with a kind of love that in that moment was greatly, greatly needed. These people have truly become my home away from home and have become my support system.

They're going through the same stresses and they've felt the same pressures, and they know how to help. They know what to do. They put my problems into perspective for me. What would I do without them?

This is why friendship is so important. I will be grateful for that conversation for a very, very long time. Because of them, because of the conversation we had, I've re-prioritized and realized that I need to put my health first, my sleep first, my diet first, my time to unwind first.

Yes, school is difficult, but one or two bad grades will not be the end of me. This is what they've taught me.

They've reminded me to laugh when I needed it, they've supplied ample hugs when I was feeling down. What's most incredible to me, though, is that they've stood by me through all of it. Through my varied ups and downs at college so far, they've been there for me. And wow, that's amazing. Thank you for not abandoning me. I love you guys.

To that end, I preach, always give your friends the value and respect they deserve. Always give them time, always listen and be there to help and support no matter what.

People and friendships will last much longer (and be much more rewarding) than any grade or project ever will. Tell your friends you love them. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Riya Gupta

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I Drifted But Now I'm Reaching Out

I'm not going to isolate myself anymore.

I’ve noticed that since I started college, I dropped a lot of habits. Some were habits that I really needed to get rid of, such as picking at my nails and snacking way too much. Other habits, though, I really shouldn’t have dropped. Maybe I just got too busy or lazy, or maybe it was just something for the high school me. Yeah, I’ve changed a lot in college but I’m going to try and get back into the good habits I had.

College gave me a lot of time. Suddenly I had all this free time and I realized that it was entirely up to me what I wanted to do with it. The freedom is really great, I won’t deny that, but what I noticed was that I found myself alone a lot.

Maybe it was my intention that some days I just wanted some alone time, but more often than not I found myself realizing that I hadn’t seen or talked to friends in a while. I realized I wasn’t hanging out with people anymore. I was alone.

Now, I know the importance of myself reaching out. Before I always worried that there was a reason I wasn’t seeing or talking to people as often, I mean, there was school so maybe everyone was just busy.

But I feared that I was missing out on so much was because I was unwanted in those moments. After gaining confidence, I've decided won’t isolate myself anymore. I’m an outgoing person, but I won’t be selectively outgoing anymore.

In high school, I could barely go two classrooms down without seeing someone and stopping to talk to them, and I want college to be the same way. It’s really impossible to know everyone at your college but reaching out isn’t that hard for me to do, I’ve just been lazy. I haven’t put in as much effort as I should be putting in and I know that if I want to keep some of the amazing friendships that I currently have, I need to not be distant.

It’s easy to drift away when emotions and events start piling up. Sometimes, the only thing I want to do is just lay in bed and not think about my to-do lists and schedules and problems that I have.

Once I start doing that though, I get sucked in and it becomes so hard to get the energy to get up and move. I don’t want that to be the case anymore. I don’t want to hide away with the “what ifs” and speculation as to why I didn’t go or get invited. From now on, I’m just going to go, and then see what happens.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My Best Friends, Thank You

I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

I have gone through many friends in the past few years, some that lasted a while some that only lasted a few months, but you know exactly when you found your perfect person, soulmate, best friend, the one that will never get away. It’s the friends that stick with you through the toughest times and stay.

The ones you call at 3:00 a.m. because you got into a fight with your boyfriend and can’t sleep and they stay on the phone until your ready to sleep. The ones that you can count on to pick you up because you need a ride no matter where you are.

Dear Best Friends,

I just wanted to thank you for being you and for letting me be me. Thank you for letting me feel so much like myself when I’m with you. Thank you for sharing in my happiest moments, and for listening to my saddest stories and giving compassion and empathy from wherever you are. Thank you for being the only person I ever want to confide in. Thank you for being the most beautiful person, inside and out.

Thank you for making the world a better place, just by being in it. Thank you for defining selfless, always putting others before yourself, you are going to change the world just as much as you have changed mine. Thank you for all the memories we made at Disney this year on our senior trip. Thank you for practically being my second Mom.

Thank you for setting the bar so high and making it impossible to find another friend as good as you. Thank you for making these past years we have been friends feel like forever and for giving me enough memories to last a lifetime, but not ending there.

Thank you for making me hurt when I miss you, but for taking the hurt away when I see you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the absolute privilege of being able to call you my best friend, thank you for being my person. Thank you for giving me these reasons, and a million more, to be thankful for.

I sometimes find myself looking back on my life and realizing how huge of a part you have played in keeping me steady when the rest of my world has been falling apart. How you have known what to say and do in the moments when I have felt all control slipping through my fingers.

Even if it’s just dropping everything and taking me for coffee, shopping and listening to me try to untangle the mess I call my life. Thank you for those days when the rest of the world is against me, for making me feel less alone. For believing every silly dream which enters my head and being excited for me about things which no one else understands. Thank you for always validating my emotions, for taking my side, for telling me when I’m wrong, for being honest.

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