Whenever I would make a questionable addition to my circle of friends, my mom was always quick to drop the saying ‘you are who you hang out with’ on me. She took the idea pretty seriously. From time to time she took the idea a little too far for my liking. Not to mention, she prided herself on having superhuman abilities when it came to knowing if a friend was ‘no-good’ for me. Hence, we would often disagree on what grounded her intuitions.

Believe it or not, I do not always see eye to eye with my mom. Yet, if there is one thing she did somehow make me internalize, it is that who you spend your time with absolutely matters. Who you give your time is important. You can pride yourself on being the most ethical, outgoing, determined person in the world, but it just is the case that the people you choose to hang around will shape those values in a developmental way.

We are constantly developing beings. Sometimes, we change without even realizing it. A crazy concept to say the least, but that is why I think the character of the people you surround yourself with should matter. If you want to continue to develop and grow in a positive way, I think it makes the most sense to be surrounded by people who are on the same sort of path as you.

I mean think about it, you do not have endless time to be alive, let alone making friendships. When you spend your time with someone, that is the time you could be spending with someone else. It is also the time you could have been doing just about anything else. Thus, when you chose to spend that scared time with someone, the hope is that your decision in doing so is prudent.

In my own life I try to take these concepts seriously, especially as I get older. I want to make sure that the people I call my friends are people I both enjoy spending my time with and respect.

I feel pretty privileged with the people I have had in my life thus far. Yet, privileged does not begin to express how I feel to have had the opportunity of LIVING with nine incredible women this past year. All of whom, each, carry themselves with grace, respect, and determination.

Now, my mom has not met my roommates but I know she would approve. I just wanted to take a second and basically brag about how lucky I am.

When I dropped the news on my friends and family that I would be living with nine girls, without any association to a sorority, a lot of eyebrows were raised. "Are you sure?" was essentially the reaction I got from everyone I spoke to. Frankly, I was not sure. I had no idea if I was making the right choice, I hardly knew all of the girls, and I had a serious year of schooling coming my way. Yet, my best friend was doing it and I thought, what could be the worst that could happen?

Living with nine girls does not sound like a good idea. But, living with the nine girls I had the opportunity to live with was amongst the best. Every single one of us is different in our own way. Yet, when it comes to respecting each other, the values we hold, the goals we have, and the way we treat each other, our differences are merely what make us individuals.

Amongst all the ladies lies a common denominator of kindness. No matter who it may be, I cannot imagine any one of the girls turning their backs on someone else’s pain. Depending on the life-crisis you are facing, one of the girls in the apartment probably has the experience to comfort you with. Your raging anxiety during midterms season is understood, and your meltdowns during finals are expected.

You would think that our apartment would be constantly packed but that is far from the case. Everyone has a fairly busy schedule. Whether it be school all day, work all day, or a mixture of the both, all of us have something or another going on. Usually, there is someone home, and it is always nice to be greeted with a smile, a laugh, or a quick conversation before getting on with the rest of your day or before getting started with it at all.

Being on the same page as all the people you live with is obviously crucial. Yet, there is something extra cool about being on the same page, enjoying each other in your downtime, and having real respect for each other in a genuine sense. I really do love these ladies and cannot imagine having have spent my last year in college without them.