Why You Should Prioritize Friendships Over Coursework in College

Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

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Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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.

Ouch.

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 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!

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