Be the Friend You Want to Have

Six hours. The drive home is long and lonely, and the separation from my family and friends is harder than I imagined. Just six hours—and then I’ll be home.

Sometimes, I wonder why I chose those six hours. I wanted something apart from the life I already knew. I thought that everything would be better if I got away from the town where I grew up. I saw college as a opportunity to find myself.

But then I was blindsided. Not all my hopes and dreams came true right away. Life was hard before, and it didn’t cease to be hard in this new phase. My first semester of college, I was often lonely and feared I didn’t belong. The same fears and struggles I dealt with at home resurfaced under a new sky.

How do I make good friends and thrive in this new environment? That is the question I sought to answer. And although I still do not have all the answers, I have learned so much from my experiences these past few months.

One key piece of advice my family gave me before I left for college was: “Find the type of people who build you up and are there for you.” But I didn’t know how to put those words into practice. It can be difficult to find the kind of people you can really depend on and completely trust.

But I’ve learned that there are two sides to that coin. Finding friends who will “build you up,” begins by being that kind of friend to others. Instead of waiting for someone to say “hi” to me, I’m taking the initiative to greet them in the hallway. I’ll check in to see how they are doing, or invite them to lunch. Because I realize, chances are, just like me, they are wishing someone would talk to them too.

My family also suggested that I get involved in as many ways as I could. By getting involved in different things, I’ve made long-lasting friendships and learned many lessons. I am grateful for these experiences, and I look forward to finding other opportunities to go beyond my comfort zone and try new things.

Sometimes the road seems long and lonely. Sometimes six hours away from home can feel like an eternity. But I remember with a willingness to step out of my comfort zone, I can journey forward and make my own path.


was raised in a big family in North Carolina and is currently a freshman at the
University of Tennessee. Abby loves to be outside whenever she can whether that be a day trip
to the mountains or a boat ride on the river. Abby is a part of I Believe in Love because she
knows that love has saved her and she wants others to know its power.
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