Why I'll Always Appreciate My Friends From College

Why I'll Always Appreciate My Friends From College

You will forever be indebted to the relationships you built in college.
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Dartmouth has this way of taking an image you once thought was crystal clear and making it blurry. I know I’m blind, so arguably my picture has always been a little blurry, but I am for sure not the only student at Dartmouth that all too often loses sight of what is really important and the core character traits that comprise that picture. Dartmouth students always seem to have on this façade that everything is picturesque, when in reality most are just trying to piece together their life in a way that has at least some resemblance of clarity. College is a really interesting time because, while on the surface it’s about getting an education, it is arguably, more so, about personal growth and exploration. It is a time to crash through the expectations you thought were set in stone, and a time to push the limits so much that inevitably you will end up flat on your face. No one likes the uncertainty of that blurry picture, because that uncertainty comes with a crippling fear of failure that all Dartmouth students are petrified to face.

The only way to conquer fear is to tackle it head on. At some point in college every student will experience it, that moment when there doesn’t even seem to be an image anymore, let alone a perfect picture of clarity. And in that defining moment instead of having your family to help refocus, there are only those relationships built at school for you to fall back on. College relationships are so unique because falling is unavoidable and students rely solely on their friends to help clear up the picture.

I seriously could not have gotten through my first two years at Dartmouth without the amazing group of people I am lucky enough to call my friends. There are so many great opportunities at Dartmouth, but what can often be overshadowed is the opportunity to surround yourself with people who challenge you to be the best version of yourself. The people who make the picture clear yet always make you question if the resolution could be better. These are the people who will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the world; passion spills out of them and their enthusiasm makes you passionate too.

It is scary to think about where everyone will be in five or 10 years down the road. Even throughout college relationships are always changing. Undoubtedly there probably won’t be a time in your life when you are as close to your friends as you are in college. While losing touch is a scary thought, regardless of proximity you will forever be indebted to the relationships you built in college because those are the people that got you through a crucial building block in your life, a time where you had to figure out what that picture meant to you and unavoidably the people around you had a say in that. When I started at Dartmouth my picture was for sure a little blurry. At first I just thought that was because I’m blind and things are hard to see, but I’ve realized the people I surround myself with at school have shown me successful relationships are as important, if not more, than success defined by Dartmouth standards.

Cover Image Credit: Adam Couitt

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10 Reasons Why My Mom Is My Hero

She's also my best friend.
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My mom is pretty darn special. And I'd be kidding myself to say that I tell her enough how much I appreciate her. There aren't enough breaths in the day to thank her for all that she has done for me, and all that she will do for me. So this is for my momma, these are just a few of the reasons why I think she's pretty great.

1. I can talk to her about anything.

I know for a fact that no matter the issue and no matter the story, my mom will listen to the entire thing with nothing but compassion in her heart. I don't ever need to wonder if she will judge me because I know for a fact that she never will.

2. She gives the best hugs.

I don't care if I saw her yesterday or if I've been away for three months; my mom will always hug me like she hasn't seen me in years, and there isn't a better feeling in the world.

3. I have never met a more selfless person.

She has such a heart for others and I am constantly blown away by her devotion and passion for serving those around her. If I (or anyone else) needs anything, my mom is the first one to jump up, drop everything, and run to help. If I have half as much generosity as my mom someday, I know that I would be making a huge difference.

4. I am inspired by her.

Always.

5. She cares so much for me.

I know that no matter how old I grow to be, and how mature I may become, my mom will always be there for me. She will always be waiting with open arms to either congratulate me or console me. I have never felt more loved by any other human than I do by my mom.

6. She loves me unconditionally.

I will never ever need to worry that she will stop loving me. No matter the circumstances, no matter the phase of life that I'm in, my mom will always be there for me, loving me every step of the way.

7. She is my number one cheerleader.

I don't think I will every meet another person more dedicated to my success and ready to celebrate my accomplishments than my mom. She is hands-down my biggest supporter and will always be standing at the finish line of whatever race I may be running. I could be crawling across that finish line and she'd still be cheering for me the whole way.

8. I can always count on her to point me in the right direction.

My mom will pray for me. She'll encourage me. She will lead by example and through the counseling that she is always ready to provide. I know that I can always count on her to push me in the direction of my dreams.

9. She has the best laugh.

I could pick my mom's laugh out of a crowd of hundreds. Her ability to laugh at herself (and at her own cheesy jokes) are part of what makes her so amazing. But the sound of my mom's laugh has the capability to make anyone's day, including mine.

10. I never stop learning from her.

See points 1-9.


Mom, you are such an amazing woman, and there is simply no way that I could put it into words. So I'll simply say thank you. Thank you for all that you do for me, day-in and day out. Thank you for loving me, and showing me what it means to live like Jesus and everything else that you do. I hope that one day my daughter might love me as much as I love you.

Love,

Me

Cover Image Credit: Ashley Burton

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You Have To Give A Brick To Build Lasting Relationships

Vulnerability is the key to building lasting, impactful relationships.

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Guys build relationships through shoulder-to-shoulder interactions. These interactions include: playing sports together, watching sports together, or getting drinks at a bar together.

Girls are the opposite. Girls build relationships through face to face interactions and by being vulnerable with one another. Shared experiences and talking about things we have done and been through is what brings us closer together.

This process of being vulnerable and sharing stories about our experiences is what is referred to as "giving bricks."

During sorority recruitment work week, we had an amazing public speaker who came to talk to us about the relationship between sorority women and potential new members, and how to quickly and effectively build a good rapport.

Throughout her speech, so many new concepts and analogies unfolded before my eyes that ended up leaving a huge impact on me. Namely, her concept of "giving bricks." The topic of conversation began with how to break beneath the surface level with a person you have just met and dig deeper. During sorority recruitment, it is important to get to know who a girl is deep down, beyond what her major is and where she is from. Small talk is friendly, sure. However, small talk does not enable you to fully understand and capture who a person truly is.

Imagine a tall brick wall. Reach up as high as you can and pick off a brick from the very top. Now give it to someone you just met. Just like in Jenga, taking a block from the top essentially does nothing and will not cause your tower to come crashing to the floor. In relationship building, if you share a very small, surface level piece of information with somebody, it will not negatively affect your relationship with that person but it won't make it better either. Handing over a brick from the top of your wall is not the way to dig deep and find out who somebody is.

Now imagine yourself taking a brick from the center of your wall. It's a little tougher to access and takes some effort to remove it, but again, it will not send your wall toppling to the ground. Sharing something personal with another person will actually encourage them to do the same with you. If you give someone a brick from the middle, they likely will give you one from the middle of their wall too because you just opened up a conversation. You are inviting them to dive below the surface level and your vulnerability will give them the confidence to share something a little more personal with you. Not harmful, not too invasive, but just enough to catch a glimpse at their character and what they are interested in or what is important to them.

Finally, try taking a brick from the very base of your wall. It is taxing. It is hardest to access, and it made the rest of your structure shake and teeter a bit. Selecting a brick from the most important part of your wall is the hardest grab thus far. It literally is the foundation of the rest of your wall. You are the wall. Digging deep, getting vulnerable, and sharing personal information about what we value and fear most, trust and steer clear of most is what will build the most authentic, genuine relationship. It is the most vulnerable you can be with another person.

If you decide to give a brick from the bottom of your wall to another person, they will crouch down and pick up a brick straight from their foundation too and hand it straight over. Giving a brick from the base is equivalent to building a strong, lasting relationship with another person. It is something intimate and deep you get to experience together. Your closest friends are the people you share the most bricks with, and the people you call acquaintances only get the bricks from the tippy top.

Whether you chose to give a brick from the top, middle, or base to hand over to someone will determine how close you are willing to get to them. If your goal is to get to know them, you have to share something about yourself.

What is important to you? What motivates you in life? What are the things that make up YOUR foundation?

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