Finding Your People

 

My friend Paris and I chilling in my dorm after a photoshoot.

My friend Paris and I chilling in my dorm after a photoshoot.

College undoubtedly brings change. Life before college is largely different from life in higher education.  Post-secondary education brings a new set of challenges that provide opportunity for personal growth and emergence into the adult world. Though many challenges exist for the incoming college student, my primary focus is the examination of relationships in college, as I have a great deal of experience in this area. And while I cannot speak to the experiences of all students in college, I do know that my account of navigating relationships during my first year at NYU can provide useful reference for any college student.

Before I went to New York City for college, I lived in a place called Snellville, Georgia. Growing up in Georgia, I had a hard time finding friends with whom I could have meaningful conversations. Most of the friends I made in Georgia were formed more out of circumstance than choice, since I was more concerned about fitting in socially than finding friends that would help me develop as a person. As a result, I had a lot of different friends before college, but very few seemed to excite and invigorate in the way I desired.

By contrast, the friends I made after moving to New York City are some of the most interesting and special people I have met in my entire life. While they are all different from me in some ways, all my closest friends in New York City have a common passion for taking advantage of the opportunities life offers and an eagerness to delve beyond surface-level conversations. How did I find these people? I simply made the decision to choose my friends based on who excited me, as opposed to letting friendships develop merely out of coincidence. Whenever I met someone who excited me, I did everything in my power to develop a friendship with them.  Still, sometimes, the ones who excited me were also the ones who intimidated me. It took some courage to approach and pursue friendships with people who intimidated me, but the people who intimidated me were intimidating because they possessed something that I did not have or understand. To access the immense value of such people, I dedicated myself to not let fear get in the way of forming life-changing friendships.

To solidify the friendships I desired, I made sure to show a genuine interest in those whom I wanted to know more closely. I took time out of my schedule to adventure the city with newfound friends and let them know why they mattered to me. In doing so, I showed them why I should matter in their lives, as my investment in them indicated that I could be there in whatever supportive capacity they may need in the future. So, as I let new friends into my life, I spoke into their lives, representing my honest self, since I did not want to make friends with those who did not accept me for who I am.

To solidify such friendships, I had to make emotional room for my friends to influence my life. Indeed, it is quite a scary thing to be so emotionally vulnerable to other people.  In some cases, a few people with whom I shared my vulnerabilities used those vulnerabilities to hurt me later down the road.  However, such negative experiences should not dampen the pursuit of deep and honest communication with others. Rather, the negative experiences were a means to inform me of the signs that indicate a disloyal friend.

At the end of the day, I know that I’m not perfect. I need other people around me to open my eyes to different perspectives about the world, and my place in it. Every person is limited in their capacity to understand life. Yet, by sharing friendships with tremendous people, one can get a glimpse into a larger world of possibility and have support through times of hardship. After finding my closest friends, my squad, I noticed that an incredible burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Before finding my people, college frightened me. The start of college marked the first time in my life that I had to independently endure responsibility. After creating meaningful friendships though, I have taken immense comfort in knowing that I have a family in college with whom I can experience anything and find encouragement.

By Matthew Evert

Matthew Evert is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying English and Philosophy as a sophomore at NYU. Passionate about poetry, people, and adventure, Matthew aspires to live an explorative and artistic life. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

 

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