OPINION: Why having friends in college is beneficial

DJ Stover, Commentary writer

The great and intense transition from your senior year in high school to your first semester in college can be unforgettable, especially if you’re going into it blind and by yourself. I went through that very experience last semester.

Very few people were going to WKU from my high school and the few that did, I wasn’t friends with them nor did we ever talk. None of my friends were going to WKU so I knew I was going to know nobody.

I knew that moving in and going into the semester, I was starting a new chapter in my life and every chapter has a new beginning.

Personally, I don’t hate change but I know how uncertainty can be scary. I’ve experienced bad change and good change. The weekend before moving into my dorm, I was nervous and scared for what was to come;for the change that was about to occur and not knowing if it was going to be bad or good.

I did M.A.S.T.E.R Plan the week of Aug. 16 – Aug. 20 last semester because I wanted this transition to be better than I thought it might go. I’m not that social and have a hard time making friends, but during that week I “found my people.”

I met someone at M.A.S.T.E.R Plan and we’ve hung out and been friends since. During that week I ate lunch at Fresh with some of my floormates and the rest is history. I’ve also met people from my classes or outside of school and call them my friends now.

So, even though I was more reserved and shy that week, and the semester following, it all worked out for the better because of the socially intimidating interactions I had that week..

Having friends in high school made that experience better. It made each day more fun and exciting. I looked forward to the school day more. 

The same thing can be said for college. Finding friends in college is highly beneficial to your college experience for many reasons.

Having friends in college can improve your overall academic performance. A study mentioned by Cleveland University-Kansas City, revealed that a close group of friends provided academic motivation and social support.

They did well by studying together, checking in with each other especially when facing assignments, celebrating each other’s accomplishments and achievements and de-stressing regularly.

For those reasons, having friends who will be there to help you do all that will influence your academic life.

Having friends in college can also improve your social life. When you engage in social activities or situations, you have the opportunity to observe how people act, then you’ll see the behaviors you either want to reciprocate or avoid

Throughout those experiences, you’ll find ways to better yourself and you’ll apply that to making new friends. Plus, having friends will help you build up your confidence within social situations because you’re already talking with them, hanging out with them and so on.

Undoubtedly, having friends in college is good for your mental health.

College is full of failure, struggles, burnouts and much more. The stress can take a toll on yourself and your mental health. You don’t need to suffer through anything alone, especially being a college student.

This is why you need to have friends to lean on, to help get you through the worst parts of your experience. Friends keep you grounded and help you through anything, whether that be academic or personal wise.

Your friends will pick you up when you feel low, will help you with a homework assignment that makes no sense to you, will help you finish a project that’s due the next day, or anything of that matter. They’ll help you through fatigue, anxiety, depression, burnout, uncontrolling thoughts and more.

Friends will be there for you no matter what, through thick and thin, so having those types of friends in college is crucial to living your best experiences as a college student. I was worried about not making any friends in the beginning or ever in that matter, but my friends have undoubtedly made my college experiences and time here a blast. 

My final piece of advice: just go out there and make friends. Easier said than done, but I understand the struggles of anxiety and social anxiety because that’s what my first semester and part of this semester consisted of. But you can’t go through college alone.

Reach out to your floormates, classmates, RA’s, or even study groups because there are people out there who also are scared of making new friends because of social anxiety, and they’ll be happy you reached out. 

You never know when you’re going to meet a friend or friends for life., let this new chapter be the one where you find those friends.  

Commentary writer DJ Stover can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DeJayeJJ.