Support your friends, cheer them on

By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor

As a graduating senior, I’m often asked what I’m going to miss most about college. While some may say they’ll miss the events, the buzz around campus or even the Pat Neff Hall bells singing their sweet tune every 15 minutes, the thing I’ll miss most is the relationships, and how I have so much time to support my relationships during this time.

College is a unique time in a person’s life, and as college students, we have the opportunity to easily support our peers by going to their intramural games, plays, musical performances, etc. And while our schedules are often riddled with homework, job duties and organizational responsibilities, the fact that most of us live within 10 minutes of campus gives us easy access to come and support our peers.

Studies show that support and friendship while in college is not only important to our social success, but our educational success as well. Janice McCabe, an associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth College interviewed undergraduates and found that “among the students who said their close group of friends provided academic motivation and support, every one of them graduated.”

Throughout college, we have the freedom to pursue extracurricular activities we enjoy in addition to our education, just as we did in high school. The difference between high school and college, though, is that in high school there are usually stands of parents and other high school students to cheer you on. In college, oftentimes parents can’t make it to every performance or game, which means that it’s up to us, as the peers, to step in and provide that support system.

This past fall, one of my extra responsibilities was being a Pigskin chair for my sorority. This position was taxing. There were long nights and even longer days, and there was a lot of behind-the-scenes work I had to put into the position. The week of Pigskin, my roommates bought me flowers and put them in a beautiful vase in my room with an encouraging note, and it meant the world to me. That small bit of support was just what I needed to get through my last few days of hard work.

This past weekend, my roommate ran the Bearathon, which is the toughest half-marathon in Texas. She had been training for the race for weeks, and her friends and I wanted to make sure we could support her while she was running the race. I was working at the race, so I had the chance to cheer her on at mile one, but my roommates were able to go and encourage her farther along in the race with signs with cut-outs of her head and funny jokes. At the end of the race, I was there to grace her with her medal for working so hard. These encouragements, however small they were, went a long way.

Being a good student is one of our duties as college students, but we have an even greater one — supporting our colleagues. So take a minute this next week and put your friend’s senior violin recital on the calendar, or the soccer intramural game your classmate keeps offhandedly mentioning to you. In the end, it’ll make a big difference to not only them, but you as well.

Kaitlyn is a senior journalism major from Austin.