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A Little Help from My Friends: Close bonds in college make all the difference

While hitting it off with a great professor and acing that paper may be important to your college career, one of the most vital -- and often nerve-racking -- aspects of making the most of your college years is finding your place among friends.

For many students, meeting their future BFF happens freshman year when they come face-to-face with their new roommate. Living in close quarters often leads to a lifelong friendship.

When Julie Kolson ’11 and Katie Kaiser ’11 started together in Talcott Hall as freshmen, they got close fast. “The first night we were already staying up late, sharing personal stuff,” says Kolson. “I think roommates are definitely closer on a lot of different levels. You go through everything together. You’re in a whole new experience together.”

As seniors, Kolson and Kaiser plan on living together in a Circle apartment. But this year they won’t be sharing quite the same amount of personal space as they have for the past three.

“Next year we’re getting singles for the first time,” says Kolson. “We’re right across the hall, but I feel like I’m leaving the nest!”

Dave Pierpont ’10 agrees that close bonds form fast in college. Though he didn’t originally room with his current Circle apartment roommates, Mark Kreider ’10, Zach Berenzweig ’10, and Hiroshi Torii ’10, Pierpont met them during freshman year. Kreider and Pierpont both lived in Clark Hall and grew close during spring semester.

“The difference between high school friends and college friends,” says Pierpont, “is that you live with them, you wake up in the morning with them, you eat breakfast with them, and you see them throughout the whole day. You see them at their best and worst.”

Though they have four different majors in three different schools, they still have found plenty of shared interests. Pierpont and his roommates love to spend time outdoors, hiking Buttermilk Falls, riding bikes, and playing soccer.

Kreider compares life with roommates to a family situation. “In college, parents aren’t around. Parenting in college comes from your friends. If you need help, you go to them.”

For many students, the idea of not having close friends at college is unthinkable.

“I don’t know what I would be doing if I didn’t have them to hang out with,” says Pierpont. “I couldn’t picture it.”

However, Kreider is quick to point out that making friends does not happen instantaneously. “You come to college and you want to find your best friend right away,” he says. “Your roommate is the first step. I didn’t meet these guys until second semester. There’s no rush to meet people.”

Erik Lyons ’11, who lives in a Circle apartment with roommates Alex Proujansky ’11, Adam Aglietti ’11, Andrew Weiser ’11, Michael Becker ’11, and Collin Clifford, M.B.A. ’11, feels similarly about the process of making friends.

“Try to befriend your roommate, but let things happen naturally,” advises Lyons. “Understand that not everyone is the same as you and that you must adapt to situations and learn to alter your mind-set when it comes to forming relationships.”

Many students agree that the key to forming successful friendships in college is through compromising and letting them grow on their own.

“It’s a give-and-take relationship,” says Kolson of living with someone for the first time. “You have to compromise. You’re not going to be able to have the same exact lifestyle as when you had a single room in your parents’ house. It’s going to be different, but it’s definitely doable.”

Pierpont agrees that the college lifestyle is different from living at home, and changes must be made accordingly. “Don’t come to college thinking it’s going to be like high school. Be prepared to be open-minded and it will make your college experience better.”

With these changes come life-altering relationships.

“These are friendships that you will have for the rest of your life,” says Lyons. “Having strong relationships in college will, without a doubt, promote a positive college experience and allow you to be comfortable and better able to take on life’s challenges after college.”

 




Originally published in Fuse: A Little Help from My Friends: Close bonds in college make all the difference.