"No story sits by itself; sometimes stories meet at corners and sometimes they cover one another complete, like stones beneath a river" - Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven
With that being said, there are two things I have to say before starting this piece:
Don't read the book!! Well, it's a great book, but you WILL cry!
Everyone has an impact - direct or indirect - on any other person's life. This is something constantly emphasized in the book, and once you begin your college journey, you'll come to see how true that is. When you're choosing your classes, when you sit somewhere in the dining hall, any and everything you affects someone else's decision, most of the time without them even realizing it. This piece is told from one side, my side. The people I met may think differently of me than I do of them; the things I do affect different people in different ways, and that is just part of life.
1. Your Best Friend(s) - You may have met them the first day of class/orientation or maybe you just realized how great you are together at the last possible moment. These are the people in 90 percent of your 3 a.m. Snapchat stories; the ones almost passing out drunk with you on a Saturday night. They introduced you to other people who may or may not have also become your best friends. At least half of your memories or stories include them and you wouldn't want it any other way.
These are the people who will grow with you and learn from you, and you will learn from them. They'll listen to you rant about your roommate or bring you ice cream and chocolates when you break up with your boyfriend. They'll tell it how it is and they are always there for you, day or night. You know you'll be best friends for life merely by the fact that you can communicate every feeling and though by just a simple glance, not to mention the fact that they've seen you at your worst (yes, I'm talking about the night you got black out drunk and cried about your ex-boyfriend until dawn - not a personal experience just saying). They're with you for the long run, which is great since your future kids are going to be best friends, too.
2. The Guy That Didn't Work Out - No, I'm not talking about the guy who forgot to go to the gym all year - even though you'll meet him too... I'm talking about the cute guy you were talking to who either didn't make the cut, realized he never wanted something serious, or just didn't pull through for some reason or another. This is the guy who will pave the way for other guys in college. He'll be the standard you hold everyone else to. He'll teach you things about yourself that you never knew before - emotionally, that is - and, even though it won't work out, he'll open opportunities for future loves and lovers alike. You'll crush on him, you'll laugh with him, you'll fall for him, and you'll move on.
3. The People Who Drive You Insane - Okay, there are a lot of these... the girl who leaves ALL her things in the communal bathroom, the neighbors who have loud sex all the time, the other neighbors who play loud music at the prime sleeping hours of midnight and four AM, the obnoxious know-it-all and the kiss-ass in your class, the kid who never pulls his weight in group projects, believe me, the list goes on and on.
Whoever it is, these are the people who will literally test your patience in ways you never thought possible. You might yell at them, rant about them behind their backs, you may even unleash a passive-aggressiveness you never knew you had. Either way, these people will teach you how to deal with others and these kinds of situations in the real world, and someday, maybe, you'll be thankful for them (...maybe).
4. The Friends Who Drifted Away - these are the friends that started the year off with you, but didn't really make it past the first semester. They were your buffer during the start of your new life, they were someone to eat lunch with, to laugh with, to go out with. Even though you didn't make it all the way through with them, you still have great memories and great talks with them. They may even be the reason for some of your greatest and dearest friendships.
5. Yourself - Okay, fine, this one's cheesy, but it's true.
College, as you may have heard, is the time for you to find yourself. It's your opportunity to do everything and try anything you've ever wanted. It the time for you to experiment new things - hair, clothes, habits, etc. Your life is now in your own hands, and you'll learn the consequences of the decisions you make. Aside from all the fun and craziness you'll experience during these four years, college is also the time for you to grow up, mature and become independent. No one is going to hold you accountable for the things you do anymore.
Everyone you meet will have something to teach you and will influence your future, but the most important person to learn from is yourself.