Sunday, June 9, 2013

University Student: New Friendships and Old Friendships

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11, NIV)
Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)

From the moment you stepped onto campus, you were surrounded by a sea of new faces. I remember my first orientation sessions (though I never like it initially, especially when ‘ragging’ culture was still legal) and my first classes. Do you remember your moments? For some of you, you celebrate the opportunity to meet new people; while others may feel uncomfortable with the thought of making new friends (yuck!).

"3 Idiots" is a good movie about friendship.
Pic taken from:
Friends, no matter what, I convince that attending university or collage is an exciting time in your life, and one of the powerful treasures you will take with you when you leave is those new friendships. Seize the opportunity. Now is the significant time of your life to meet people with different interests and backgrounds and even religious. My advice is for you to make it a point to break out of the old crowd and getting to know someone who is from a different country (such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria, Japan, etc.), or different state (Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia) or of a different race (Malay, Indian, Chinese, Iban, Bidayuh, Kadazan, etc.). You will grow in ways that you cannot imagine!

For you who might finds that it is not easy to meet new people, I have some suggestions. Make yourself available. If you have been in a habit of sitting in your room with door closed (like some of my friends were), others may assume that you’re unfriendly or an introvert person – perhaps you are, and there is nothing wrong with that – but sometime for the sake of living testimony for Christ, open your door for others to come and visit you. You too do the same with them. Go socializing. Another suggestion is for you to join activities beyond the classroom. Your campus likely has a variety of clubs, teams, and organizations that allow people of similar interests to get together. It also helps you to find new friends. When I was a student, one particular club that has changed my life forever was our Christian Fellowship. There I renewed my personal relationship with Christ; I learned the Word of God; and I gained new friendships that are faithful since today.

For those who have moved to campus, there is the question of what to do with your old friends back home. You may feel a strong desire to keep in touch with old friends, particularly in your first semester in university or collage. The familiar voice and word of an old friend can be very comforting as you adjust to your new surroundings. The use of technology such as Facebook, E-mail, twitter or blog is an excellent way to maintain those older relationships, but beware of how much time you invest in it. It is possible that too much time spent nurturing old relationships may lessen your time to make new friends. I’m not suggesting you to let go of your old friendships totally but to encourage you to consider that perhaps a new friendships while you are in campus is more important. Balance and perspective are the key words that I want you to understand.

John A. Beck and Marmy A. Clason write, “Not every relationship you have had in the past will make the transition with you to college life. Honor the fact that although you have changed others may not have changed or they may have changed in ways that are not compatible with the way you have changed. This means some relationships will never be what they were before. Some old friendships will survive the challenge of distance and change. But expect that some of your past relationships will best retire to happy memories as you move forward with your life” (Light on the Path: A Christian Perspective on College Success. Pg.174-176).

Make New Friendships.
Seize the Opportunity!
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