Never underestimate the power of a friend...
This world is a crazy ball of chaos sometimes. It’s also a wonderful ball of fun and excitement. Throw college in the mix of navigating adulthood and you get an interesting array of experiences that will shape you into the future human you were meant to become. Breaking it down, there is a key component to success in college that cannot be defined with a letter grade. That component is: relationships.
We’re not talking about romantic, dating relationships (but those can significantly impact the course of your life). We’re talking about relationships with friends, classmates, professors, and roommates. Here are a few reasons why these forms of relationships are important:
Friends (“I’ll be there for youuu!”)
Friendships in college can change everything. Friends are there to study with you and help you through difficult tests. They are people to have a good time and run around town with at 3am to get milkshakes and fries. They comfort you when you’re feeling lonely or homesick, bring you medicine when you’re physically sick, are a source of joy when you see them on campus, and sometimes stick around as good companions long after graduation day. I did not prepare for or adapt to college life as well as I would have hoped my freshman year. I considered leaving and waiting a while longer before coming back (I was only 16), but I made friends with a specific group of people who helped me through the really rough patches and I ended up absolutely loving my college experience because of them. Friendships are important!
If you go to a small, private university like Simpson, there’s a good chance that you will be in classes with the same general group of people throughout your years. General Education classes are more diverse, but typically your major classes will have familiar faces each time around. With your classmates you will create group projects, teach and learn from one another, study together, and will become increasingly more skilled at your chosen major – which means you will most likely celebrate together with each milestone passed in the classroom. At the end of your time in school, you realize how much your fellow classmates helped and encouraged you (and possibly shed a few tears with you during finals week).
One of the really cool things about a small university is the chance to get to know your professors personally. At Simpson, professors are intentional about getting to know who is in their classes, and how they can best help each student succeed. Professors have an open door policy, and allow students to come into their offices freely to ask questions, go over assignments, discuss possible careers paths, and generally help students wherever help is needed. Professors take time to encourage and develop students, and genuinely care about their success – not only in school, but in life beyond the classroom. Taking time to get to know your professors and utilizing the help they offer can radically alter your experience and confidence in school.
Many students go into college assuming they are going to be best friends for life with their first-year roommate(s). Sometimes this is true, and sometimes it is not. Either way, the students you live with play a role in your life. Sometimes roommate are hard to live and work with, they might even argue and fight with you periodically. Those circumstances can teach you to stand up for yourself and to learn quality conflict resolution tricks. Maybe you and your roommate become close on day one. They will be there for you in the best and worst of times, making sure you always have a friend to laugh and/or cry with. Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of the two extremes. You may enjoy your roommate, but not get super close with them. This type of relationship allows you to live in harmony with the other person, yet not feel pressured to include them in everything you do or everywhere you go. You both get to live in your own space and do your own thing.
Never underestimate the power of different relationship types while you are in school. It could mean the difference between grades, emotional stability, and overall good health. Who are you thankful to have in your life?