Once you step onto campus as a freshman, you have a completely fresh start. Not only did no one know you during your “awkward” phase or see when you tripped down the hallway in tenth grade, but also you have the opportunity to establish who you are as an individual. While it’s ideal to find friends who have similar interests and values as you, sometimes it’s not that simple – you may find yourself engulfed in a relationship with a “toxic friend.” Even though this individual may not seem toxic at first, they only negatively contribute to your life, diminishing your happiness and inner peace each and every day.
Especially in the beginning, everyone wants to find his or her place. Whether it’s in classes, extracurricular activities, or a group of friends, building a social circle at school is crucial. Since you are living away from home (and for many of you, this may be the first time you are away from home for such an extended period of time), your friends become your family here at Syracuse. Not only will they be there to support you through good times and bad, but also they are the ones you will create lifelong memories with. If you are continuously around one particular individual who only thinks about themselves and disregards your personal feelings and opinions, you will only be missing out on these incredible experiences.
Unfortunately, toxic friends are hard to spot. When you are in the moment, you are so immersed in the situation that you can’t see the big picture. It is not until you are able to remove yourself from that environment, in which you can finally see the negative influence on your life. More often than not, your friends or family will be able to notice the change. And while you may not think anything of it, listen to them and consider their points. The longer the situation ensues, the harder it is to get out of the destructive friendship.
These four years really are some of the best years of your life. Even though you may remain close with your friends from high school, the friends you make in college are exceptionally special. While you may not realize it, these friends are the ones who have helped you transition into adulthood and become the person you are today. If you only spend time with someone who is toxic, they will only inhibit your growth as an individual.
Only you have the power to choose the people you surround yourself with. Always spend time with those who appreciate who you are, and genuinely have your best interest in mind.
And by doing just that, you are well on your way to four very happy years.
By Eva Zymaris