Going to college over 500 miles away from my hometown was hard, but also one of the best decisions I ever made. That distance allowed me the freedom to be myself, personalize my faith, and explore my heart and goals even deeper. I am so thankful for the 4 years I had at Samford because I was nurtured, challenged, and loved like I never had been before. If you are currently thinking, “Yeah, everyone says college is the best 4 years of their life.” And I’m here to tell you, they undoubtedly are.
The concept of convenient friendships no longer exists. You make friends because you choose to. You foster relationships based on similarities like your major, classes you take, community groups you are in, or Greek life. For the first time, you aren’t in classes with the same people over and over again like middle and high school. You are now a small fish in a big pond. And the friendships and relationships you form in that big pond are some of the most treasured bonds you will ever have.
In March, one of my friends from Fellows program came and stayed with me for two days. We explored Downtown Charleston, ate fabulous food, and visited a local plantation. We caught up on how her first year of med school has been, the difficulties she’s faced in the process, and she encouraged me to keep pursuing PA school no matter the hurdles I seem to face. It’s friendships like that you know only God could have placed in your life.
Then last weekend I had the chance to meet up with two of my friends from my freshman hall. Needless to say, we laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. I am confident in saying our hall was just about the most tight-knit group of girls outside of Greek housing. We did everything together: ate in the Caf, “studied” in the Libs, had midnight dance parties, carpooled to church on Sunday mornings, indulged ourselves at Sonic for late night munchies, crammed way too many people into our dorm room to watch movies. We were an inseparable bunch. It’s so sweet being reunited after almost a year apart (yes, I graduated a year ago this May, and I’m completely in denial about it). I got to tag along on their Savannah adventure for the day, and it was so refreshing just chatting about adult life, what’s new, and how the past year has been overall.
This week, I’m headed back to Birmingham for the first time since graduation. Excited can’t even begin to describe how I feel. Seeing campus again, driving down Lakeshore Drive, visiting some of my old haunts, and reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in almost a year. I wouldn’t be surprised if I shed a few tears.
The Lord places people in your life to bless, encourage, and uplift you in that place for that time. And I truly believe those friendships I made back on the green hills of Samford’s campus I am gonna cherish for years to come. This week we’ve been hosting the Anglican bishop of Northern Uganda in our home and he said recently that once you form bonds in the body of Christ no distance can ever separate you. You may not see each other every day, you may not know exactly what their plans are for next week, but you can rest assured that the next time you see each other you will pick up right where you left off.
Whether you stay in touch by texting, phone calls, email, snail mail, or Snapchat, friendship is a powerful bond that cannot be easily broken. Cherish those you love by keeping in touch and by communicating to them just how deeply they have impacted you. Even if it’s just a quick smiley face emoji when you think of them spontaneously during your day, that contact will mean the world.
Take time this week to thank God for the blessing of friendship and to also thank those who have blessed you with their friendship.