The first blissful, wide-eyed days of college present us with a unique opportunity: we can become a “new” person. Romantic dreams not fulfilled, daring stunts not completed, and academic goals not accomplished in high school are blessed with a second chance in college; however, the success or failure of your collegiate future depends on your peer selection.
It is no surprise our friends play a deciding hand in the sculpturing of our identity. The people we chill with on a day-to-day basis influence our tastes in music, movies, hobbies, sports, and just about every superficial subject relevant to our young-adult culture. Even more unnerving, our “friends” can hold sway over our core beliefs on ethics, morality, and spirituality.
Recent studies have begun to pit our peers versus our nurturing, steadfast parents in a battle of who truly influences the individual you call “[insert your name here]”. Who wins? Your intramural Frisbee teammates, your Greek brothers and sisters, your student government co-workers.
If our friends aid in the creation of our identity than how can we tell a true friend from one who will lead us down a road of self-destruction? The answer is quite simple: do they challenge us to succeed and achieve our fullest potential? Do they challenge us to excel in our academics and not to become complacent with a 3.0 GPA? Do they physically push us to bench press one more grueling rep or finish that killer six mile run? Do they set an example of resolution or do they fall prey to sloth?
When I say “to challenge” I certainly don’t mean in terms of encouraging you to pound one more watery Natty Light before becoming well acquainted with the mystery stained couch. Choose genuine friends and your college experience will be unforgettable. Currently my girlfriend participates in a varsity sport at JMU. Not one for laziness, she always challenges me to strive for peak physical fitness. As a result, I have seen awesome results in the weight room. I firmly believe I could not have reached my potential without her support.
As the eminent George Washington stated, “associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.” Although you may not realize it on move-in day, your future is anxiously waiting in the passenger seat with you at the wheel. Riding the coattails of this power is the ability to select those who will help you reach your destination. Welcome to college, I would like you to meet the new you.
Introducing columnist Jason…
…who studies Interpersonal Communication and Rhetoric at James Madison University. Outside of class, he works as a Resident Adviser, is an active brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and goes on spontaneous adventures with his girlfriend. His passions include reading, personal development, and dating communication. After college, Jason hopes to become involved with organizational development or dating consulting.