My Experience with Friendship in College

My experience with friendship in college has been both disheartening and absolutely life changing. My first year was so amazing and fun. There was a group of us that would just hang out in Arctic Java for hours everyday just talking and laughing, nothing but good vibes. It made me feel so inspired and loved. Unfortunately, this group did not maintain it's closeness as we all got much busier with school and work than we had during that first year. It was sad but we fell away from each other during the summer and it's never been quite been the same since, though most of us still hang out from time to time.
My sophomore year, my friendship situation hit an all time low. All summer (summer between first year and sophomore year) I had been working at a campsite about an hour away from my home. It ate up a lot of time, working full time and driving an extra hour there and back. And, all of my friends went out of state for vacation. I became close with some of my fellow employees and we would often spent our days off together. As the summer went on, one of my friends/co-workers had her hours reduced to 0 after coming to work late too many times. Automatically she stopped hanging out with us as it was hard to find the time to bond when we weren't spending 40 hours a week joking around in between tasks. So then there were just 3 of us. We had so much fun throughout the summer going to the movies, out to dinner and even took a trip down to Anchorage before the start the fall semester.

Despite the closeness of the summer, it quickly changed once classes began and I moved into the dorms, which I expected because I would now live about 30 minutes away instead of 10. Slowly but surely I felt myself being pushed out. My two friends constantly spent time together, while I was feeling like I had to fight to be included. It was really difficult to not feel wanted any more. I don't know exactly where the shift happened but is was painful. No matter what happened, what I said or who I was defending it always ended up being the two of them against me. Every joke I made was hijacked and made better by another person, every point I made was argued against, and every plan we made I somehow got left out of most of it.

I didn't know what to feel, I didn't know if I should be furious with them or frustrated with myself for no longer being someone they wanted to hang out with. Constantly defending myself got exhausting, trying to feel included in plans where I didn't feel welcomed made me angry, and still opening myself up to the same kind of pain and embarrassment and disappointment made me resent myself. I thought after I moved back from the dorms and closer to them that we would somehow find our friendship again, but one last time I was disappointed. I hated myself for allowing me to go through that pain and rejection so many times, and I couldn't even totally blame them for pushing me out in the end. I had become so negative and sad and felt so drained. I became defensive and jaded and felt unworthy of true friendship, I thought I deserved this kind of relationship with people. I have never felt so lonely around other people before.

Eventually, it occurred to me how toxic these relationships had become, it took much longer than I would care to admit. I felt it was better for me to be alone than be in a friendship like that where I was unloved, not valuable, and expendable. I was right.

It was the spring semester of my sophomore year when I saw a glimmer of hope. I had a class with my two close friends from my first year, from the group that was full of good vibes. We laughed all through every class we had and they invited me out every now and then. One night after we had spent hours together, I came home and it hit me. I had settled for people who did not ultimately care about me, I had wasted time feeling so low for people who never bat an eye at my absence.

I started crying. I messaged my now very, best friend Ariana, thanking her for me making me feel included and just making me feel like other people were happy that I was around.
I am now a happy college student. I don't go out every weekend. I don't have a bunch of friends. But, I have a few great ones that I am endlessly appreciative of. Even though I've had my ups and downs in the realm of friendship, and even though there were times that were extremely painful and made me question my worth, I made it through. I think if I hadn't gone through that I would not be nearly as grateful to the people in my life, I wouldn't understand that I am wanted and I that my value should not be reliant on those around me. I made it and I am so glad that I did.
I know this has been a long, depressing blog, and if there is anything that I want you to take away from this it is that you are worth more than you think and sometimes it is more important to wait for the right people than to settle for anyone. Time is something that you can never get back, so spend your time with people who appreciate you and that you appreciate. It is okay not to be okay sometimes, it makes the good times so much better and helps us to be so much more grateful for who we are and who we are with. If you feel like you are in a toxic friendship/relationship, don't be afraid to walk away. Sometimes it is better to be alone for a while than to be with people who make you feel alone. Everything will turn out all right in the end, I promise.

For more information about my current friendship situation please check out my other blog titled: MISSING MY BEST FRIEND (AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP). Thank you for reading!

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