Freshman year was the worst. I wasn't making many friends, the clubs I was joining weren't sticking and I started going home every weekend because I had nothing to do on campus anyway. My roommate became my best friend, and if it weren't for her I may have gone crazy in my dorm room.
Sophomore year I decided to grow a pair and pledged a co-ed community service fraternity, and my life basically took a 180 turn on itself. All of a sudden I had so many new friends, so much to do every night, and I didn't even have the time to go home on weekends. My entire life became my frat, and I loved it.
But then I went abroad fall 2012 and came back in the spring of 2013 to a whole new game. My better friends were now abroad and I started realizing that although I had "so many friends" in my frat, I had no idea who to call to hang on a friday night or who to share new ideas with. Maybe, just maybe, I needed more friends.
So senior year came, and I joined more clubs, started meeting more people and sure, began making more friends. Sure, I now knew more people in a wider range of majors and from a larger pool of cities, But the thing was, while I was creating so many connections and relationships with people, I still didn't feel like I actually had anything to call ours with most anyone. I was stumped, but I didn't do anything about it.
It wasn't until halfway through my second semester of senior year that I heard this song by an artist I hadn't heard of until that point (who I now follow closely because I'm pretty sure we're friends now) :
The first verse of the first bridge goes " so I'll just sit alone / scrolling through my phone / wonder who my real friends are." I listened to this as I sat alone scrolling through my phone for what felt like the billionth time, trying to find a friend to go to a concert with. And when, for the billionth time, I sent out dozens of "hey, are you free tonight?" texts with only a few positive replies, it hit me: REAL friends, Shab! Not JUST friends.
The entire time I was making more friends, I was just creating relationships without building on top of them. When I figured that out, everything clicked. The last two months of college became the most rewarding and fulfilling way to end my four years at USC. I started:
1. Paying more attention to the people in my life.
2. Caring about my relationships.
3. Putting much more effort in growing said relationships.
If I want you in my life, you'll know: I'll want to carve out time for you, learn more about you, collaborate with you, help you, support your interests/dreams/goals and hope you know you can trust me. Relationships won't grow into anything on their own, right?
I worried a lot about the time I wasted in college or whether I'd missed any potential connections I could have had with people. But at least I figured this out sooner than later, and by the time I walked down with my cap and gown, I was more ready than ever to start real life, meet more like-minded people, start conversations, collaborate, hear people's stories and make more real friends.