I like to write. But I don't like to edit what my friends write.
Throughout high school, but even more pertinent now that the omnipresent god of Grade Point Average (GPA) has been formed over our heads, my friends have felt it necessary to request my assistance on every paper they've written. I'm not a bad guy. I'm thankful for my friends, both what they mean to me and what they've done for me, but I'm also your typical college student. I'm up till 3 a.m. each night doing work of my own and study crashing for midterms. While it isn't fair to leave your friends hanging, it also isn't self-serving or intelligent to hold their work over your own.
Taking this into account, is it fair to ask your friends for help? In theory, yes. From the very first few steps of our childhood, we learn that friends are meant to help each other. A good friendship is built on the grounds that we are meant to hold each other up, sympathize for each other, stand by each other's side, and empathize with each other in times of tragedy.
Friendship is something humanity is lucky to have. Moving on from childhood, the brief period between senior year of high school and freshman year of college is the time period where self-inquisition and analysis of our various friendships are perhaps most prominent. Looking back, I think most of us can realize that friendship makes us who we are. Though cliché, the decision to choose our friends is real. Our friendships are truly a reflection of ourselves and can become a way that we can express ourselves indirectly.
Our very first few days at college are spent attempting to build these relationships, meeting new people who will hopefully remain our friends for years. So while the need and enjoyment present through friendship is readily apparent, does this connection justify our need to help our friends even when our own workload matches their own? In reality, no. For many, including myself, it can be quite difficult to tell our friends "no." Instead, we allow ourselves to say yes to editing two friends and our roommate's expos final draft and are up till 2 a.m. on a Thursday night when we have an 8 a.m. in the morning. So, while asking your friends for help is totally acceptable, their response as a "no" is totally acceptable as well.
No can be difficult to hear, but understanding your friends isn't. Though it might aggravate you that I don't want to spend my Friday night checking your essay's grammar or studying with you through the bio I took last semester, you have to understand space within a friendship, and why it's necessary. A great friend may study till 4 a.m. with you, but a great friend might also go out and come back with a coffee to help you fight through the late-night struggle. Friendship isn't about what we get, but rather about what we give. And first we must give to ourselves what we can, whether that means replying to our friends with a resounding "no" or "yes," and give to them what we can second.