Community

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know what I would’ve done in college without a constant community of people who surrounded me. For the introverts out there, I know being around lots of people all of the time isn’t the most appealing option. I get it. I’m an ambivert and need my space sometimes. But completely isolating yourself in college is one thing you don’t want to do. You need people to be there when you’re going through tough times and need people to laugh with, cry with, smile with and just do life with. Don’t feel like you need to do everything on your own or feel weak when you can’t. As one of the most independent people on this planet, even I know that it’s not worth trying to do things all by myself all the time.

Independence is stressed so much during college. It can be easy to fall into a routine where you just focus and depend on yourself. Having people who encourage and support you in the midst all of that is so important. These friends are different than high school friends. They’re different than the people you’re going to work with post-graduation. The friends that you have in college will {hopefully} last for a very long time.

I had to go to the dentist last semester right around exams to get my teeth cleaned. My visit started off like any regular appointment. I checked in, sat in a big chair and waited for the dental hygienist to come in. It always makes me laugh when a dental hygienist tries talking to me and I literally can’t respond with words, and must respond with guttural noises. After a few minutes, the dental hygienist came in and instantly began talking to me. She was easily one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. As a recent graduate herself, she asked me the basics — what was I studying, what do I want to do after college, if I liked my roommates etc.

After learning that I lived with eight other girls, she got super excited. She reminisced on her friends from college and shared different memories she had with her girlfriends. She talked about eating ramen on the couch at 1 am because they had nothing else to eat, going to vacation at her roommates’ hometowns and studying in the library with friends until the sun came up. She spoke so fondly of her friends from college and told me that she still made it a point to hang out with them and see them whenever they visited. At first I thought it was strange that she was sharing so much personal information with me, but as she kept talking, I started to appreciate the wisdom she was sharing with me. She told me to cherish my friendships and really put time and effort into the relationships that I want to continue after college. It wasn’t just a simple suggestion. She urged me, almost pleaded, that I maintain the relationships I make in college.

I have always been told that the friends you make in college will last forever. I don’t think I really started to believe that until I took a second in that dentist chair to think about my current relationships.

I knew nobody coming into college. And now? Now, I have friends who know the ins and outs of my life — some who know me even better than my parents. I have friends who have been there for me when I’ve struggled through really hard times and friends who have traveled the world with me. Friends who laugh with me, cry with me, call me out and love me despite my imperfections. Friends who are so selfless and so intentional. Friends who genuinely care about my life and what I’m doing. Friends who I do ministry with, friends who I live with and friends who are basically sisters to me.

All this to say don’t do college alone. You go through some pretty big changes and some pretty rough times. I know I did. I can’t imagine what my life would’ve looked like if I had gone through all of that alone. Find community. Find people who you can share the good and bad with. It will make college that much sweeter.

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