how to regret 15% of your life


One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

I didn’t have many friends in college.

Was it because I wasn’t a very nice person?

I pondered.

Was it because I wasn’t very “cool” or “trendy”?

I was well aware of this.

Was it because I wasn’t friendly?

That is why I regret 15% of my life.

People argue whether college should be considered as much of a social education as it is. Should we encourage our graduating high school students to “have fun” in college? Is that its purpose?

Back in the day, college was a very prestigious, limited opportunity. It was an honor to be able to pursue an occupation that required college, an honor to be accepted into a college, and an honor to come from a family able to afford a college education.

Therefore, it was an honor to attend college.

Over time, an interesting thing has happened, however.

As college education became more expensive, it also became more accessible and in higher demand. A degree of some sort is required for nearly any job above minimum wage, so young people are compelled to pursue higher education.

It seems that a desire to compensate for the obligatory studies has led organically to a need for “release” through increasingly student-focused social activities. There have always been college parties, but never has it been so widely assumed that every collegiate would participate in such festivities.

But, see, I was better than the average college student. I held to the old-fashioned notion that college was an honor, and academics held priority over every area of my life.

I left with a 3.9 GPA, a division award and the satisfaction that I had indeed been a teacher’s pet.

What more could I ask for the last four years of my life?

And the 15%? I'm 24. So it's more like 16.67% of my life.

Students: college, now more than ever, is no joke. It is an incredibly expensive investment, one on which your future success depends greatly.

Don’t slack off in your classes. Don’t go to lecture in your pajamas. Don’t skip an evening class to attend a social event.

Also…

Don’t stuff your need for friendships. Scripture places just as much emphasis (if not more) on cultivating godly relationships as it does diligence and hard work.

Don’t avoid the social gatherings. If you’re like me, you may struggle with wondering whether anyone would want to hang out with an uncool person such as yourself. Stop it. That’s insecurity - and insecurity is pride. Go to a party.

Don’t neglect your professors. Depending on the size of your university, your professors may or may not have time to develop a personal mentoring relationship with you. If you are privileged to attend a small school like I did, make sure you recognize the value of that relationship and continue to communicate that to your professor even after college. Not only will this make you a nicer, more other-centered person, it will help greatly with networking and finding internship, job and graduate school opportunities.

I can only hope that most people aren’t like me in pursuing academic success at the expense of relational successes. I write this not to make you feel bad for me, but as a warning to those who follow behind: if you do what I did, you will regret those four years. You will dwell on how you have no close friendships left from college because you ignored everyone as a defense mechanism against possible rejection.

By the grace of God, my friendship-building skills have improved dramatically since college, and I am grateful to say I have many friends who don’t just tolerate me, but (I’m fairly certain) enjoy me.

This message is not just for the collegiate, but for everyone who is in a season of life where valuable time must be divided and choices must be made. Do your work, whatever it is, and do it well, but never sacrifice friends for grades or people for pay.


Love God first, and love others as yourself. As you seek His kingdom, all this will be added.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello! I'm Faith. I'm a verbal processor who wants to love the Lord and love people with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I write to think and think to write. I don't drink coffee. I am a dogless dog lover. I enjoy hosting large parties in my home, and I enjoy being alone. Join me in looking to Him and pursuing A Radiant Face.

7 comments:

  1. College is so important and you are dead on about relationships. You really can develop friendships in college that will last a lifetime and you never know when you might be colleagues with the people you're becoming friends with in college. Take the opportunity to grow those relationships. You'll be glad you did!

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  2. What wonderful advice for ALL ages!

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  3. I feel like now days people take college for,granted actually. They go to socialize then spend a ton of money and then after doing this for aout a year or two they then get serious when they get their school bill. Not all but most.

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    1. Yes, I absolutely see that as the norm. I think my post is focused more on the uptight people like myself who don't take college for granted but do neglect to build friendships.

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  4. This is so good and such a great perspective, college was so important to me and something my parents didn't get the opportunity to attend, so I took it seriously. I can only hope our kids take it as seriously.

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  5. Hi Faith - I'm sorry, I have read this twice now, and I'm confused... do you think kids should be going to college at all? Or going to college and doing enough to get a degree, but still party? I'm just a little confused - I loved college, I had to work 3 jobs to get my degree, I have a few wonderful friends from my years there... I think it certainly has a great place in formative growing up years, but then it isn't for everyone, and there shouldn't be a a rule that says every must go to college... Also, I certainly hope you do not regret your college years simply because you focused on your studies and not the social aspect. There will be time for that, for everything there is a season. Marissa

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Marissa. I apologize that my post was confusing, so I'm glad you provided the opportunity to clarify. :)

      What I'm trying to say here is pursue the best of both worlds: academics (working hard) and friendships (having fun). This post is probably geared more toward the traditional college student fresh out of high school who will be living on campus, etc.

      I am the first person in my immediate family (and first person on one entire side of my extended family) to get a bachelor's degree, so I think that is a huge reason why I took college so seriously. I did work a part-time job in college, but it wasn't as much of a sacrifice for me financially, so I probably wouldn't have the same perspective as someone who went to college later in life or had to support a family or didn't receive any financial assistance from parents, etc.

      Also, I think the first part of my post about college being expensive, social, academic, blah blah blah was to try to help people understand why college has become a more typical experience in a young person's life and therefore why the social aspect is important (like it would be in high school, for example). I certainly don't think everyone should go to college, but more people have to now because so many jobs require it.

      Finally, I went to a conservative Christian college, so the sort of "partying" I'm referring to is under the assumption that you're not going to participate in a situation that would compromise your godly character.

      I do regret not building friendships in college, but I don't regret working hard. I wish I would have done both, and I really think I could have. Trying to move on, however because I need to be grateful for the awesome things happening in my life right now.

      Well, I think I just wrote myself another blog post, haha!

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