When I started college, I went in knowing next to nobody. There were a few people from my hometown attending URI, but they weren't people I had been particularly close to. As a result, I was being given a fresh start in terms of making friends. I was nervous at first, but in many ways, this turned out to be a positive aspect. College life has exposed me to many like-minded individuals; people I can count on for just about anything.
Also, let's be honest. College can get rough. There will be days (and sometimes weeks) that you won't know how you'll manage to get everything done. That's one of the many reasons college friends are vital for success and happiness on campus. With that in mind, here is my reasoning behind why college friendships are so important.
I touched on this point in the introduction, so this is where I want to start.
College is a stressful time in a young person's life. As we transition into our adult selves, we have to do what we can to keep our grades up, get involved on campus, and do our best to appeal to employers. Trying to balance all that sounds pretty overwhelming, doesn't it? That's where having your core friend group comes in handy. Having someone close by to reassure you makes all the difference in your mood. They'll put a smile right back on your face and get you back in the game.
It also helps to make friends with people in your major(s). That way, they can give you advice and support for more challenging classes or professors.
While we're on the subject of making friends within your major, let's talk about studying. When you're hunched over in the library, working on a 16-page homework assignment for managerial accounting, it's nice to have people to help you through it (hi Doug, Derrick, Jo, and Cailing). Every day, I see my classmates pass through with their study friends, ready for the long hours ahead.
Obviously, we're in college to earn a degree. With that comes the responsibility of doing well academically. However, nobody devotes the entirety of their day to studying. Students make time for clubs, jobs, and getting involved in other on-campus activities.
Having friends with similar interests will help you out here. For example, I got involved in a club on campus because my friend and fellow Chinese major was vice president. After going to meetings for a few weeks, I ran for club secretary. Now, I not only am part of a club that I'm passionate about, but I get to help promote the organization to the rest of the university. As secretary, I am responsible for social media and email management. These skills will hopefully prove useful as a Marketing major.
As stated earlier, nobody devotes their entire day to studying. Yes, some days are worse than others, but even then, most students find time to hang out with friends. On many Friday and Saturday nights, I reach out to my friends whose dorm is right across the street from mine. We'll usually try to hang out and unwind after a long, stressful week of classes.
Other weeks, I'll meet up with another close friend and talk with him about what's new with his life. We could talk for hours, which is nice because it allows us to unwind and take time away from the stress of college.
Having Stories To Tell
In college, each day is filled with new experiences. As a result, you'll always have a story to tell. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and are involved with different programs at the university. With so many different things happening at once, my friends and I spend hours telling funny or surprising stories about our college lives.
You never really know what to expect, but whenever your friend has a story, it's going to be good.
Giving and Receiving Advice
By the time you get to college, you've hopefully grasped the concept of "nobody's perfect." At the same time, if somebody makes a mistake, I believe it should be pointed out respectfully so that it doesn't happen again. I use the word "respectfully" because, as with anything, there is a right way and a wrong way of giving someone advice.
If someone is your true friend, they should be able to give you honest advice. As long as the advice is reasonable, you should be able to accept it. One mark of a true friend is being able to have an honest, open conversation with you.
Off Campus Fun
While URIs campus is a predominantly rural area, there are plenty of opportunities to get off campus and have a good time. If you and your friends pool your money for transportation, food, and activities, there are plenty of options for you to have fun.
Within a 10-minute bus ride from the student union, you'll arrive in the nearby downtown area with shops and restaurants. I've been there with friends before, and there's no shortage of things to do. You just need to know where to look.
This last point is a culmination of everything else written in this article. As you're stressing while studying in the library, or ranting at your friend's dorms for hours on end, or heading out for a night of fun, one thing is for sure:
You're making memories. These are the moments that you'll look back on years from now. You'll laugh and recall the good times you had in college. No matter how you're feeling now, you know that you can count on your friends to help you keep on going.
With all that in mind, I'm grateful for the friends I've made in my time at URI. I don't know where I'd be without them. To all my college friends, thank you for making this experience worthwhile.