Growing up, I thought that I would go to college and make best friends the first week of school and we would spend all of our time together loving college and everything it had to offer. After all, Freshman year is supposed to be the best time of your entire life, right???
Well, not in my case. Not even close. In truth, Freshman year felt incredibly lonely and making real, genuine connections with people was much harder than I expected it to be.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like the people I was meeting – everyone was friendly, but I didn’t have the kind of friendship that I had with my high school friends.
I felt like I was doing something wrong, and I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in myself that I had ‘failed’ to make Freshman year as good as the hype….Freshman year didn’t feel like the best time of my life – it felt like a hard, lonely transition that I wasn’t really liking at all.
Last time this year, I couldn’t wait to leave school and go home for winter break. Now, a year later, I really don’t want to leave school, and would so much prefer to stay in Amherst where my life is. A big reason why is because over the course of the year, I have had the time to develop genuine, compassionate friendships.
The other day, I texted my friend Henry with a one sentence life update. He responded and I quote “I NEED TO HEAR ABOUT THIS” and within five minutes there was quite literally a knock on my door.
It may have been 9:57 am on a Sunday morning, but he was there ready to discuss and hear all of my thoughts, feelings, and reactions in person. And I was so happy he was there, because Henry is one of the most considerate listeners and friends I have ever met.
Even last night, I cancelled on seeing him because I was feeling sick, and this morning he brought me four packets of EmergenC – his personal cure for everything – and told me to feel better.
The other night I told her I was going to be asleep by 10 pm, yet every night with her is an actual sleepover with my best friend and we always have more to talk about (even if the lights are shut and we’re determined to go to bed) and the next thing you know it’s midnight and Carly and I have just planned out the details of our weddings and are sending each other pictures of dresses we think the other one would look good in. And the next morning we wake up at around the same time and I’m greeted with a ‘Good morning chickadee’ and Carly will put on a song we both love or something of that nature.
My best friend Gina is actually not even real. Like I’m so stunned and in awe of her kindness, grace, and just the person that she is that I don’t even know why she spends time with me. She is a real life angel who connects her faith with her passion for social justice and is a trailblazer who is doing her part to end sex trafficking. And she will quite literally text me after every time we hang out, saying this whole huge paragraph about how much she enjoys our time together. She is a blessing in every sense of the word.
And my friend Mike. I don’t even know where or how to begin because I genuinely don’t even know how it’s POSSIBLE for a human being to be so wonderful. Mike is the absolute full package – he is both funny and ridiculous, as well as incredibly insightful and brilliant at heart to heart conversations. I LOVE hanging out with him, and always feel like I don’t spend enough time with him (despite seeing him nearly every day) because every second spent with Mike is a literally ‘unreal how positive it is’ second.
Take a watch when you’re done reading 🙂
Rebekah is logical and her advice calms me down always and we girl talk it out as she takes off her makeup in the evening. Mariah is full of a big, beautiful energy and time spent with her is time spent laughing, but also learning. And I have so many other friends that are equally as extraordinary, but I don’t have the space to give them the credit they deserve.
The friendships that I have made are genuine, real, and make my heart feel warm and supported yet also challenged to be and do better. These friendships did not happen the first week of college.
In fact, they all took time.
Henry and I were put in the same theater troupe Freshman year, but quite honestly we didn’t become friends until second semester, and not best friends until over the summer.
Carly and I didn’t really know each other Freshman year, and didn’t become friends until we decided to live together – which is CRAZY, because it’s worked out perfectly.
And I met Gina briefly first semester, and we actually did immediately click, but our friendship took time to develop into the forever friendship we have now.
Mike and I went to high school together, and were always friendly, but it wasn’t until we got to college and became tour guides together that we started committing to our friendship.
If you’re going through a transition or just struggling to make friends in general, have faith that friendship really does take time to develop. I didn’t become best friends with any of the above, absolutely outstanding people immediately…instead, we became best friends through the process of committing time to each other, keeping it real, and expressing our admiration for one another.
So, don’t stress yourself out so much. Friendships take time to develop, and that’s okay. You got this 🙂
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Survival of the Prettiest is the book 19 year old Ashley Olafsen wished she had when she was younger. Survival of the Prettiest discusses body image, media, self-esteem, mental health, sexualization, and so much more in her interactive, engaging, and easy to understand book. In a stunning combo of storytelling and research, Ashley truly makes a difference and empowers individuals to reach their full potentials.