Building connections

By Kendall Tich

When I first arrived at USD, I was greeted by the smiling, energetic faces of my peers, many of whom ended up becoming some of my very best friends. However, at the time I saw the need to make friends as temporary as I felt as though I already had my own life at home with my family and friends from high school.

As I became more immersed in the college culture and the expectations of a student at USD, I realized that I would have to drift away from my high school life and embrace the new adult life I had lying ahead of me. During that transition, I discovered that college requires you to move past the expectations and assumptions of high school students. We are at a completely new and mature point in our lives during which we have the ability to move from a dependent adolescent to an independent adult.

When I first began to truly immerse myself in the college experience, there were many things that I realized. First of all, high school friendships and relationships can seem like they are your entire world at the time. However, as we enter the world that college offers us, we realize that many of those friendships and relationships do not mean nearly as much as those we will have with others in college.

Thats not to say that your high school friends aren’t important. In fact, I still keep in very good touch with a lot of my friends from high school. What makes the relationships and friendships different though, is the fact that you are entering adulthood together, realizing and learning things at the same pace that your friends from home may not be realizing as well.

Another important realization I arrived at during my college transition is that it is important to be aware of the impact you and your decisions have on others. When we are in high school, we are somewhat unaware of the consequences that our actions have on those around us.

Missing a test or assignment due date in high school still would’ve granted you an average grade; however in college, these seemingly small assignments cannot be as easily missed.

Similarly, missing an obligation to a friend or peer is also bound to let others down and this only leads to the diminishing of yourself as a person and as a friend.

In high school, missing many of these obligations could have been taken as a sign that high school wasn’t as serious as college or that relationships in high school are more temporary than those in college. This makes it seem as though it is unnecessary to put as much effort into making things fair and right.

These realizations not only lead you to a drift away from your high school friends, but they also lead to the conclusion that the connections and friendships you form in college are deeper than ever before and can lead to a better understanding of yourself and of others.

My final realization is that beyond friendships and relationships with others, connections grow increasingly important. It is no longer about going to get lunch with your friends or going to a coffee shop with your acquaintances. It has become more about professional connections, those that will aid you in reaching a high position in the workforce, rather than those that can get you a high position in your organization or club on campus.

Since the world has become increasingly connected, it is important to make note of our own connections and use them to our advantage in later parts of life. Building professional connections with others rather than simply relying on the never ending presence of your high school friends will set you up for success after graduation and upon entering the real world.

What I have learned in letting go of my life as a high school student is that it is important to embrace the new life that college holds for you, especially in regards to friendships and relationships. Without forming strong connections, we will never be able to advance ourselves as individuals.

By recognizing the constant evolution of our relationships as we grow up, we are able to move beyond adolescence into a world of adulthood in which we can use our relationships with others in order to develop ourselves.