Why You Should Prioritize Friendships Over Coursework in College
I attended four schools in undergrad for various reasons, including a move across the country. My third school was a large state school near my hometown. I moved into an apartment that was technically not part of campus housing, but it was all students, and I have regrets.
My biggest regret is that while I did well academically, I was a social caterpillar. I was in a cacoon. I remember one time my roommates invited me out to dinner with them and I’d already eaten. I said, “no thanks.” They stopped inviting me out after that.
By the time I made it to my fourth and final school (well, as far as undergrad goes anyway), I’d learned my lesson. I moved on campus and the first weekend, before classes started, I sought out opportunities to get involved.
I saw a flyer posted on my dorm building:
Open Mic Night. Thursday evening. 6 o’clock. Student Center. All are welcome.
I jumped at the chance to not only attend the open mic event but to bring along some poetry I’d written for a creative writing course I’d had a few semesters earlier. It was the first open mic night I’d ever attended, let alone read at, and I was well-received. And I made friends.
I learned an important lesson that night: take risks. Especially in college. As many as you can.
After that, I got involved in the English society that had hosted the open mic night. The next semester, I was voted in as President of the organization. That boosted my confidence and I went on to become an actor in the theater program and a staff writer for the student newspaper.
Along the way, I made amazing friendships and had a great time. And I still did well academically. In fact, I think my academic performance was enhanced by my willingness to connect with my peers. I started college as the “shy girl” but ended up participating in class discussions every day.
That’s why you have to prioritize friendships in college.
On top of making college a hell of a lot more enjoyable, your friends will help you develop your voice, your confidence, and your potential — especially if you choose friends who share your values.
So do yourself a favor and make sure you seek out opportunities to connect with people around things you enjoy. This is also true of your work-life. So carry this with you as you go out into the world to make your mark!