7 Things My 7 Closest College Friends Taught Me

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly
We often take for granted the importance of our friends — the constants in our lives — and how we, in one way or another, learn from them, from valuable life lessons to something as simple as not rubbing our eyes with our hands.

1. You only live once, so try to find a balance.

One of my friends does a lot of extra-curricular activities and still manages to get good grades in class. How this friend lives her college life is the perfect example of making the most out of college. I’m not saying that it’s bad to be the person who is always studying at home or the person who is always outside doing extra-curricular stuff and neglecting his/her studies. All I want to point out is that finding the perfect balance between the two is what’s outstanding. I don’t know how she does it, but I really think that that is how I want to live my college life. That’s why I’m thankful that she always both encourages me to try new things whenever I’m afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and tells me to start studying whenever I’m getting too lax.

2. Everybody needs a fan in his or her life.

One remarkable thing that I love about one of my friends is that she never fails to be my own personal ray of sunshine. She always supports me in everything I do, cheers me up when I’m down, and makes me feel more confident. We all need a cheerleader in our lives. We all need someone to honestly point out our flaws and encourage us to change for the better, but at the same time, we also need someone who will see past our imperfections and make us see how we as human beings also posses our own strong points that outweigh our imperfections.

3. People can surprise us.

I have a good friend whom I’ve been accustomed to nag, encouraging to do this and that, to study instead of procrastinating, to clean his plate, and many more. I’ve seen him grow and change, and I’d like to believe and take pride that I’ve somehow taken part in that personal growth. And then this friend showed me that everyone can learn from anyone. One time, our final exams week has just ended so everyone was already on semestral break, but I still had one last Chinese paper to write. I’m not really good in Chinese and he was, so I left him a Facebook message asking him to explain to me part of the sources that I’m using. After a few hours when I already forgot about asking him for help and resolved to doing everything on my own, he sent a file with the English translation of not just the part I asked for but the whole article that I sent.

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes we get so used to seeing people the same way, that they will always be the person that they are, and then they do something to break that image of them? I got so used to looking out for this friend that when it was his turn to do a huge favor for me, it just reminded me that people can surprise us/

4. You don’t have to do everything on your own.

People often say that we can’t rely on anyone other than ourselves, but one of my friends proved them wrong. This friend has been my companion since the first time I joined an organization in college. From attending events, going to leadership seminars, signing up for projects, to heading our own projects right now, she has been my seatmate, my busmate, my friend, my partner. We’ve worked together for different projects and I’m just thankful that I have someone who I can rely on whenever I have my own shortcomings. 

I’m thankful for how her presence taught me that we don’t really have to do everything on our own — people are here to help us and all we have to do is acknowledge their presence because maybe all along we have been getting in our own way. 

5. Carpooling is awesome.

I’m pretty sure you’re all expecting to see “It’s awesome to have someone to talk to about your everyday college life” or “Carpool gives you an outlet for your thoughts.” Unfortunately, those are stories for another day. What I want to point out is how this friend, this carpool buddy, sings in the car every single carpool ride. I’ve had my share of fun by recording her from time to time and playing it in front of our friends, but despite that, she still continues to sing in the car, unashamed of me hearing her sing or recording her. For me, this level of confidence is something to applaud. She showed me that we should never hold back from being ourselves, doing the things we love, and not letting other people’s thoughts affect our actions.

6. Two words can mean so much.

“Thank you.”

We often forget the power of these two words. I think it’s ironic how my first friend in college always thanks me when, in fact, I should be the one thanking him. I’ve known him for more than a year now, and I can talk about how our friendship started by having the same Facebook profile pictures doing what we both love or how I would flood him whenever I just need a friend to rant to, but I think it’d be more appropriate to talk about one of the simple things I treasure about our friendship, which is that whenever I’d do a favor for him or offer him some help, he’d always thank me in the end. For some, it may not mean much, it may just merit a “so what?”, but for me, hearing those two words really makes a difference. It shows the person’s gratitude for the things I do. It makes me feel appreciated. He simply reminded me of my “because” to why I bother going out of my way to do things for other people.

7. Learn from the people around you.

This is something that I taught myself. I taught myself to appreciate the things people do around me. We are shaped by our experiences, the environment around us, the people we spend a lot of our time with; therefore, it is important for us to look at these more things critically and find out how these have helped us be the person we are right now. The 6 lessons I listed above? These are just a few of what I learned from the people around me. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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