Changing faces

A change in lifestyle can strain relationships. Leaving friends back home and coming to a new place where you will make new friends definitely changes things. Leaving a significant other can require making many weekend trips back home and multiple daily phone calls.

College is a confusing time when it comes to social interaction. There are opportunities to figure out your own identity and fit in. Students meet people from all different walks of life.

I knew a handful of people who were also coming to USF, so I knew I would have some sort of social comfort level.

I was a bit upset, however, leaving my best friend behind in Melbourne, Fla. In high school, we were inseparable. Over the summer, we spent most of our time together, and she is making plans to come to USF after two years at a community college. I am looking forward to spending my junior year and the years thereafter with my “partner in crime” again.

I wanted to use moving to a new place as a way to meet new people. Fortunately, my roommates and I get along splendidly, and I have made friends in my residence hall and in my classes.

There are so many opportunities here to meet people. The most common is probably meeting friends through your existing friends. Going to events on campus or attending club meetings is another great way. Even standing in line is a great way to meet people. I have made acquaintances with people I have talked to in elevators, in line and on the BullRunner.

Relationships are another story though. In high school, I was never in a serious relationship simply because I had too much going on and didn’t think I could make the effort to have a healthy one. I have that same attitude in college.

I won’t lie, I played the relationship card once I got here, but unfortunately things did not work out. We were both looking for different things and were both equally busy with school and other activities. Life goes on, and I am content with being single unless the right person comes along. At this stage of my life, my education is my number one priority.

Many of my friends have left significant others back home. I think it is wonderful that two people have committed to staying together even through distance, but I see the strain that a long-distance relationship puts on a couple. I cannot imagine being able to see my significant other every weekend for only a brief amount of time.

And what about those who came to USF from another state? If a student has a significant other at home and the two are still together, I give them so much credit. That requires true love.

The biggest thing to remember is to make new friends, but also keep the old ones. Stay in touch through phone calls, instant messaging or even letter writing.

When it comes to relationships, if you are in a long-distance relationship and are confident that it will last, go for it. If you are not in a relationship, things will happen when they happen. Have fun in the meantime.

Whether playing the field, wanting to settle down or missing making popcorn with your best friend, as long as students are happy, that’s all that matters. Having friends is just as important as acing that chemistry test, and there is no harm in putting off studying for just a few hours to have some fun.

Olivia Hattan is a freshman majoring in mass communications.