The Investment In Friends
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Education

The Investment Of Friends

While my primary focus is on school and my career, I realize time for friendships is just as important.

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The Investment Of Friends
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You often hear the word "investment" applied to business or something you are putting money into (school, a car). Society and culture guide us into what we invest our time in. For us as college students, we are encouraged to invest most of our time and money into education and beginning a career. Nothing wrong with that since it will help us get a job and earn a good salary. Yet I learned a valuable lesson last semester that one of the most important investments, yet most forgotten, is friendships.

It may sound obvious. You may be thinking "I have plenty of friends." The term "friend" is applied to many people we know, yet we are not close to everyone. Be honest, do you have wholesome relationships with every person that you have labeled as a "friend?" Some hints are that you do not see them face to face often or there are no honest conversations about your lives. Naturally, there should be a handful of friendships that are in-depth and meaningful. I read a suggestion that says one should have up to three close friends. This is more of a reference point, but I believe it is a good one. We do not have time for in-depth friendships with a dozen people. There are two extremes one can go to when it comes to friendships: calling too many people your friend and having no friends at all. In general, the "no friend" situation is becoming more common. Believe it or not, there is a loneliness epidemic. People are not taking the time to invest in their true friendships, even though it is one of the most important investments. Social media, education, and careers add to this difficulty.

Here is how I learned this lesson last semester. I have a 40-minute commute to Shippensburg, depending on traffic. Last semester I was taking five classes and tutoring ten hours a week, from Monday to Thursday. For one of my classes, I had one of the worst professors that made the material more difficult than it had to be. As a result, I poured hours of my time into the class. There was a big group project I had to work on throughout the semester, so I had to come to school on Fridays to work with my group. Despite the hard work I put into the class, my grades on the first two exams were rough.

I was not used to this since I was a consistent A student. Being a perfectionist, this really bothered me. I kept wondering whether I should put more time into the class. After the semester was done, I realized that putting more time into the class would not have made a difference. More importantly, I realized that if I had done that, I would have had no social life and no time to make friends. Because I took time for socializing, I was able to meet up with one guy throughout the semester. We had deep conversations about our lives and our steps towards being better men. I also got to become friends with a tutor. We too had in-depth conversations about life and happiness. These benefits are just as important as good grades or being fully prepared for a career.

The lesson further hit home when I was hanging out with my childhood best friend during the winter break. I shared my experience from the previous semester with him. Not only was he glad to hear my experience, but he shared a quick story about a time he had lunch with one of his friends back at his college. They lost track of time and his friend's class was about to begin. When my friend told him the time and urged him to get there, he responded that it was no problem and that "this is what is important." He was referring to their friendship. I do not advocate skipping class, but that guy understands the importance of investing in friends.

With the busy lifestyle of education and work, it is easy to cut out time for friendships. I have done this in much of my life and I regret it. Sometimes I still struggle with balancing a schedule to make time for friends. But it is never too late to pursue a friendship or start a new one. It makes life more enjoyable and your satisfaction greater. Perhaps you may be investing too much time into your school or organization. Obviously, that is for you to evaluate and consider. For me, my primary goal this semester is to take time to meet with some friends and strengthen the relationships. Not only does it benefit me, but it also gives me a chance to benefit someone else.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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