There are so many people we encounter in our lives; some leave us marked for life. They imprint a piece of themselves onto us so we can grow to become better people. In college when so many things are happening for the first time, we find ourselves with small pieces of the people who help us get through the rough times and celebrate with us in the good times.
Your First Friend
The first friend you meet at school is an incredibly special person. Whether you are lifelong friends, or just together for a short amount of time, this friend will always hold a sacred place in your heart. They are like a breath of fresh air and suddenly you’re not so nervous anymore. This is the friend with whom you will experience your first frat party with. She is the girl who will hold your hair when you get sick after a long night. And he or she will be the first person to know all of the interesting gossip in your life. Even if you two eventually drift apart, this person will always represent something special.
Your Bad Professor
College classes are made and broken by the professor who teaches, or doesn’t teach. Two professors you encounter will help you in ways you never thought a person who teaches 500 people a day could.
The first bad professor you encounter will teach you patience, understanding, and how to be resourceful. When you experience a professor whose homework makes you want to tear you hair out, and exams that have you contemplating faking an illness, you learn to stand alone without the aid that your former teachers may have provided you with.
Bad professors may even help you make friends by making bonds with your classmates over a shared loathing. While suffering through this class you learn to use all of your resources and become not only a stronger student, but a more independent learner. When you encounter this bad professor, just remember all of the resources you have to overcome them.
Your Good Professor
You unfortunately can’t always count on a professor to actually teach, but the ones who do are the most precious gems in academia. These professors are the ones who will sit there until you fully understand a topic and will push you to be the best you can be.
Great professors are the men and women who will help you solidify what you want to do with your life and will be guiding forces in what direction may suit you best. These great professors also make incredible references for the future, and could potentially be the difference between landing the dream job or not.
Your First College Romance
Love isn’t always as simple as the quote about love would suggest. Often in college, love and lust are easily confused, messy and can leave a person with a few emotional bruises. The first person that catches your attention for more than a few days is an unexpected teacher. This man or woman is the first person who makes going to your 9A.M. class a little easier because you know you will see them on your walk there.
You wait for the minute that you can see them again because for the first time it is all new. This person is not from the town you grew up in, and doesn’t know anything about you expect that you are interesting. The excitement of someone completely new is intoxicating and can bring you so high, which almost makes it worse when things end.
Ending the first college fling will teach you a lot, including how to deal with heartbreak without your mom and dog to cry to. This person also has the potential to teach you what you deserve in a partner, and they can help you discover what you like and do not like in a person. They help move you one step closer to your storybook ending.
The whole concept of a roommate is a little strange. The summer before you move to a new city with barely anyone you know, you are expected to pick a complete stranger to live with and just trust that they will not be a psychopath based on a little paragraph on Facebook. It seems kind of crazy to just assume that this person you have probably never met in person is now someone you share a small prison cell-like room with.
Roommates are very good for a few things, including borrowing clothes. If your roommate and you get along, and are even friends, they are a great person to borrow a shirt from and are always there for fashion advice before a night out. These people teach us patience, usually by testing our limits while also teaching us conflict resolution – a seemingly uncomplicated concept until she brings a guy home at 3 a.m. Nothing is off limits with roommates because there is really no place to hide when you are sad and crying, or are bursting with excited energy.
Everyone has different people who stand in these roles and they might not fit perfectly, but nonetheless, they influence us tremendously. Tweet a picture of you and someone who inspires you to @Valleymag and tell us why they inspire you!