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High Hopes and Realities of a College Freshman is a new column from Ryder From.      

My family told me that I’d meet such cool and interesting people in college who would become my lifelong friends. That’s a huge expectation to have coming into my first few weeks of college and, while it hasn’t come true yet, the journey getting there is what makes these friendships lifelong.

Something I love about my generation is their openness. People still have reservations about what they might say on a first date or the first time they hang out with a new friend, but it seems like people are more willing to express personal information than they have been in the past. Still, this doesn’t mean a loving friendship is going to start any faster.

I feel like I’ve told my best friends from home everything. This shows that I’m not uncomfortable or insecure about much anymore, so naturally I’m not hesitant to make deep conversation right away with a new friend I made during dinner or at a club who is willing to share personal feelings, too. In a way, I wanted to open up right away in the hope that I would feel the same closeness and nuance I have with hometown best friends, which took years to develop.

This period of time between new friend and best friend is important because it ensures that when personal feelings are shared, no one is uncomfortable or shaken up. For instance, when I made a new friend based off a mutual love of a YouTuber and Broadway, and she, later in the night, told me very dark facts about her family, I realized that my lack of hesitation to be open didn’t mean that I was ready for what openness would lead to.

I learned my lesson and decided to take it slower with a couple hall-mates, hoping this would manifest into a proper friendship that would be like what my family told me. It still didn’t take long before personal information was leaked in the moment, but two weeks is better than two hours.

I don’t know if these people I’m talking to and eating lunch with are going to be my lifelong friends. I don’t know if that giant expectation my family gave me is ever going to be reached. People say you have to appreciate the small things in life, and while I want my future to be full of big things that make me happy, I can already appreciate what these friendships have given me, even if they aren’t what I have back home yet.

Being out at dinner till 10 p.m. at night with friends is something I never would’ve done in high school, but in college has become a common occurrence. A 20-minute walk into the city of Lexington is a lot more convenient and exhilarating than the hour drive to my city of Chicago, especially when the people you’re with keep cracking jokes even when you get a little lost. Staying up till two in the morning isn’t sad or a waste of time when you’re singing and dancing with friends in the street instead of watching YouTube videos till you doze off. Maybe I haven’t reached my goal of lifelong friends yet, but these small events make me happy every day.