An Open Letter to the Freshman with 100 Friends

freshmen friends sm

College is great, right? You showed up at the beginning of the semester all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready for this next part of your life.

You’ve gotten to know your roommate, and the two of you are friends now. Remember how you were attached at the hip that first week? Maybe it lasted, maybe it didn’t, but it doesn’t matter because you both met a lot of people in the first month or so.

The best thing about college is how often you see people you know. That kid passing you on the path to Boon is in your Intro to Philosophy class, and the two of you like to joke about Danaher’s football stories. The girl in your Information Literacy class lives two doors down from you. You randomly sat next to her on the first day of class, and ended up commiserating about how many stairs you have to climb to get to your rooms on Christie 4 center.

The best part about having these friends is that they all have friends. You met Katie on day one, and she introduced you to Matt, Andy, and Stacey. You ran into Matt at a basketball game and he introduced you to his roommate, Jeremy, Jeremy’s girlfriend, Eliza, and her best friend Rebecca. Every person you meet has connections to more people. At this point in the semester, it seems like you’ve had at least one conversation with every person you see around (even a few seniors!!)

Now you’re in the last few weeks of the semester. Things with finals are getting crazy, but your roommate always has her friends over so you can’t sleep as much as you might like to. Eliza seems to spend all of her time with Rebecca and Jeremy. You just found out Rebecca has a crush on Matt, and you feel like those four really only every hangout with each other. Even Katie has seemed less available. She hangs out with a lot of her nursing major friends and always talks about how much they all have in common.

Today, you ate lunch with Andy. The two of you have a few classes together, but it really seems like you enjoy a lot of the same things. He went to high school with a girl named Lynn who he introduced you too. You were in the cafeteria for over an hour talking about how much you love to watch FRIENDS and can practically recite the dialogue of every episode. On your way back to your room, Lynn texted you and asked if you wanted to do homework in her room later. “Sure!” you texted back. She lives in Simpson, but it’s worth the trip.

As you begin your hike up the Christie steps, you wonder what happened to all the friends you met week one. You don’t have any more classes with the boy from Philosophy, and the girl from a few doors down seems to keep to herself. You thought you would have a ton of friends in college… isn’t that what it’s all about?

Let me let you in on a little secret. I have 6 weeks left of my college career and there are two things I’ve noticed. One: I’ve never had more acquaintances, and two: I’ve never had fewer close friends. I rarely see the kid from philosophy anymore, and we don’t even greet each other when our paths do cross. Jeremy and Eliza broke up, and everyone in that group made new friends. Katie transferred, and the girl from Information Literacy dropped out and is now living back at home in Massachusetts. Let me tell you, though, Andy and Lynn are my best friends. We do everything together, and they feel like family to me.

Alright, so all of those people and their stories are made up, but it’s not too far from what I’ve experienced with some of the people I’ve met over the last four years. The point is that you meet a lot of people in college, but if you expect to have a hundred best friends, you’ll spend all your time spreading yourself too thin. With classes, work, and all your other responsibilities, you won’t have the time or energy to invest in every single person you meet, and if you try to, you’ll likely fall short.

Trust me, though. You’ll find those few people who will end up meaning the world to you. Most friendships will come and go, but a few will last forever. Enjoy them while you’re all still living in the same town.