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College is about balance and friendships

Contrary to popular belief, I.S. was not the hardest part of college. I.S. is time management and a weekly chance to swallow your pride during advising meetings — at worst, it’s a lot of printing money; at best, it’s an incredible opportunity to make something you’re proud of.

In truth, the hardest part of these last four years (for me anyway) has been figuring out the social dynamics, circles and habits that make college a strange and wonderful place. The combination of alcohol, casual hookups, Greek life, constant student overturn and a hundred other things on our tiny campus make a complicated web of relationships to navigate.

I struggled with these webs for the majority of my college career, mostly because I didn’t realize there’s a balance to everything. Drink if you want, but don’t rely on it to be yourself. Hookup if you want, but it’s not a measure of your worth. Go out, stay in, fuck FOMO and whoever came up with that word.

The Wooster bubble is real, and while there are times when it feels like it’s impossible to have any privacy, I know how hard it can be to shake the feeling that you’re alone even when you’re surrounded by so many people on campus.

And as tempting as it is to hole yourself up with Netflix and a Lowry box when that feeling hits, my best advice to beat it is to pour your energy into the friendships that make you feel whole and that give as much as they take.

First-years: maybe you got lucky and found those relationships in the hallways of your first dorms, but with any luck, you’re going to grow a lot from the 18-year-old version of yourself — make the effort to develop the new relationships that meet you where you’re at.

Sophomores: get involved with something new, lay down some roots, and puff out your chests when the new kids go by. We’ll all see through it, but it’s part of the process. Socially it’s a year of change, but I know you’ll land on your feet.

Juniors: breathe deeply and try to complain about junior I.S. sparingly. Celebrate turning 21 and embrace the wonderful world of off-campus happy hour where Wednesday-night friendships are born.

And seniors: stay open to social possibilities. Second semester is the perfect moment to make some really meaningful friendships if you’re open to it, since, honestly, what do you have to lose at this point? Worst case scenario: they don’t wish you happy birthday on Facebook.

I joined the cross-country team my senior year purely out of social anxiety — me, who owns four Richard Simmons workout tapes but can’t finish one without wheezing, ran hundreds of miles in the name of female friendship — and even while swearing profusely during races, I was thankful for the new network of connections that I never would have had otherwise.

Moving to college is terrifying because we had no friends on campus; how beautiful it is that leaving college is just as scary because we can’t imagine our lives without those relationships.

Katie Cameron, an Arts & Entertainment editor for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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