The other day, I was having dinner with some old college friends, just catching up on life. As we reminisced of the drunken weekends and all-nighters, one of my friends brought up an interesting point. “The college experience is a moment in time. The people, the place, and you will never be the same again. There is no way to recreate that,” he said.
Personally, as someone who was over the college lifestyle a long time ago, I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Its truth was reinforced in my own experience and was one that I wish other people could internalize.
I feel that, too often, people perceive college as the peak of their young lives and, as a result, hold on deeply to each of its precious memories. I agree that it is an amazing four to five years of your life, a time filled with growth and the creation of lasting relationships. The issue I have lies within the attachment and association a great amount of individuals have, with their time spent studying. Holding onto those few experiences can seriously hamper growth for many young professionals.
For example, think of a time when you were around a couple of people that were college friends when interacting within a large social setting, filled with new people to meet (e.g., networking event). Odds are, in at least one of these scenarios, the two college chums never left each other’s side. See, they knew that they could always resort to talking about their fraternity or some football game if the conversation hit a lull: a defense mechanism for venturing outside of their comfort zone.
I have been guilty of this in the past; sticking around my acquaintances when I know I should be socializing in a broader manner. It is perfectly natural and easy. But we all know, improvement doesn’t come from doing the easy thing.
I am not advocating for the destruction of relationships made in college, by any means. I met a plethora of amazing people that I aspire to keep as life-long friends at the University of Illinois. What I am suggesting however, is that you dig deeper in conversations you have with these friends, not let these relationships hold back your personal growth, and move on from the past.
So next time you think about heading back to campus for a weekend, think twice. Understand if it aligns with your core values or if you are just doing it to hang onto memories that should be left as just that. And when you have dinner with an old friend, find a way to relate on a deeper level than that time you both got soaked at Thursday Night Brother’s. Both of these things in parallel will lead to significant personal growth, as well as improved relationships.
7/10/15 8:08 PM PST