Viewpoint: Life’s greatest gift is friends

Reubin Turner
Reubin Turner

Sunday, I had the opportunity to engage in one of America’s favorite pastimes — cheering on a team in the NFL Super Bowl.

As I stuffed my mouth with pizza, Oreos and queso, I realized there was something I enjoyed more than simply eating and watching football (which is pretty hard to top in both Texas and my native state Oklahoma). The game was made so much more enjoyable being in the company of some of my closest friends.

This past Friday, guys across campus were extended bids to become members of various fraternities. With these bids, fraternities offered these pledges an opportunity to become part of something bigger than themselves, parties and alcohol. They offered them a chance to join a lifelong brotherhood. I therefore would beseech prospective members to capitalize on this and make lifelong friends.
When I first came to Baylor, I was on a mission to meet as many people as possible as fast as I could. I suppose this is understandable, considering I didn’t know anyone and was simply trying to become immersed in Baylor culture.

From church focus groups to Greek life shindigs on the weekend, I tried it all. Some experiences turned out great, some not so great. But in the end, I was glad to have at least had the experience.
But I began to realize something during the odyssey to finding my inner-collegiate self. Every time I met someone or become associated with new groups, I neglected old relationships. Rather than taking the time to develop meaningful and deep friendships, I was on a quest to have a lot of friends.

I didn’t realize that while gaining new friends of course does have its place, lifelong friendships aren’t developed within a two-month span.

I know several people that have made hundreds of friends during their time at Baylor. And there is absolutely nothing wrong that. Having a ton of friends can often open up a myriad of opportunities within careers and other fields. However, I’ve found that having one true best friend is so much more valuable than having a million.

Oftentimes, it’s a true best friend, or even someone you’re close to, that you can confide in, share experiences with and have the best time with. Many of your best experiences are with friends whom you consider more a sibling, rather than just a friend. Once again, to develop such relationships, time has to be invested.

As pledges enter a new era, one that will undoubtedly shape their lives for the future, several things will run through their minds. Picking the right clothes to maintain the proper image, finding a hot date to take the next formal event and working hard to be the dominant team on the intramural courts are but a few. But if you can say at the end of your Baylor career that you, like Humphrey Bogart, have received the greatest gift of life — friendship — you have done well.

Reubin Turner is a senior economics major from Edmond, Okla. He is the city editor and a regular columnist for the Lariat. He is also the author of a weekly column in the Lariat’s business section called “The Bottom Line.”