There is a saying, which one of my good friends once used to console me with:
“In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you.” – Unknown.
Now, as cheesy as this quote may sound out of context, it was something I needed to hear at the time while, as a first year, I was struggling to find my purpose in life, my path at Smith College and my true friends. This article is dedicated to all of the people who I have the honor of calling “my friend,” both in the past, the present and in the future.
The types of friends you will meet during your first year of college:
1. The Roommate
This person is really someone very special. This is probably one of the first people you befriend when you arrive on campus. Whether you cultivate a lasting friendship with this person is almost irrelevant, though it is definitely the most ideal circumstance. In any case, you owe so much to your roommate. They have seen you at your shiny-new-first-day-of-school best and witnessed you at your greasy-haired-scary-face-masked worst.
They have put up with you through the stress of finals and the excitement of that first college party; whether or not you currently get along with this person, you are grateful to them. If your roommate has become one of your closest friends, you better count yourself very lucky and hold on to them because somehow they were able to see through all of your human flaws and find something in you worth loving. For that, you owe them so much.
2. The Best Friend(s)
This person (or group of people) is the one you spend most of your time with. When you met this person it was like soul-mate-at-first-sight, yet you cannot quite pin-point the moment you became best friends. They are the coolest, funniest people you have met; you can talk about absolutely anything and everything. This is the one person who will willingly listen to your boy/girl “problems” (which is really just one tale you tell many times) and eagerly analyze/obsess over every detail of your story. And you are just as eager to do the same with theirs. This is the one person you will never be bored with; they can be the best study-buddy on weekdays and the life of the party on the weekends.
Yet some relationships end as quickly as they start. Somehow you find yourself growing apart, but you cannot quite place an exact date on the timeline of your friendship to mark its end. You begin to realize that this person is not quite as eager to share in your experiences, but that is okay because part of you is relieved not to have to share in theirs. If lost, this friendship may cause you the most hurt (pain), but you will always have the wonderful memories to hold on to and for this you are grateful to your first-year best friend.
3. The One Who's Got Their Life Together
This person is the most put-together individual [of your age] you have yet met. Their makeup, hair and clothes are always on-point. They are organized, driven and seem to know exactly what they want in life and how to get it. They inspire a mixture of fear and admiration [in you]. Most importantly, they motivate you to become more like them. I’m not saying this person is perfect--after all, they are human--but their good qualities make up for their bad ones.
4. The Long-Term Best Friend(s)
This person [or group of people] is someone you may meet during the end of your first year or perhaps even later in your college career. There are many factors that play into the development of this friendship, but timing would perhaps be the most important one. You meet this person during a time when you have gained more confidence in yourself, when you are no longer putting forward your best face to impress your new peers. Through concentrating on your studies, you have come closer to finding your purpose, both in your academic setting and perhaps even in your life. You have stopped trying to please everyone around you because their opinion really doesn't matter all that much. It is during this time when you meet those wonderful, smart, caring individuals who accept you for you. You grow to love these friends to the point when you realize that these relationships are the ones you will cherish and maintain. As life progresses, people will come and go, but these friends are the ones you will hold on to.