Don’t forget your friends

The biggest piece of advice I have as a soon-to-be college graduate might seem rather simple, but it can never be said enough: Get to know people. I’ve been hearing this for years, but it never really sank in until recently.

After hearing this statement, no matter who it came from, I would always think, “What do you mean? I know plenty of people.” But some things happened during the past nine months that made me realize that “knowing” people doesn’t just mean saying “hi” to someone on the way to class, chatting with them on Facebook or meeting them in the library to complete a class assignment.

Knowing a person is much more than that. It takes work, and it isn’t easy. But you will get much more happiness out of it then the momentary joy you experience when you get an A on that assignment you begrudgingly showed up at the library to complete.

The friends I’ve gotten to know during my final two semesters aren’t just the type who wave to you on the sidewalk while they’re busy on their cell phones. They are the ones who invite you out to dinner, give you rides to anywhere and everywhere without a second thought, listen to you when you are having a problem and even indulge your passion for sports.

I will still be calling these people in five years, and that is a great feeling as I prepare to leave college. Unfortunately, I haven’t met or taken the time to get to know enough people like this.

Remember that life is not all about school and grades. For quite a long time, I was guilty of this way of thinking. Instead, life is really about the relationships you form and the efforts you make to maintain them. Relationships are worth the effort, the happiness and the excitement. Sometimes, there will be sadness and pain, but that all comes with the ups and downs of life and should never be a reason to give up.

My last year of college has taught me an important lesson: a realization that I will attempt to use as my guiding stick as I move far beyond the classrooms, buildings and sidewalks of the university.

Michelle Nicoud is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Dallas.