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Column

For me, college has been an important time for building relationships, whether I was learning how to live with roommates, working under professors’ instruction or just hanging out with friends.

While we spend our years away from home honing skills that will help us in the professional world, we have to remember that college is more than just job preparation.

We’re building friendships with people who will influence how we shape our lives from college on, so we need to make sure that long stretches like Christmas break or summer vacation don’t tear us away from the people we care about.

As a senior, I’ve met a lot of people. I’ve had the opportunity to share a room with several wonderful roommates at two universities, and I’ve been able to make friends with people from across all different majors, classifications and backgrounds.

Some of these friendships were brief, but others have ended up shaping my entire college experience.

My best friends from freshman year have helped me work through so many of the new experiences that I’ve had in college.

Even the people I met my junior year taught me a lot about how to deal with other people.

I feel confident saying that the influence these students have had on me will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Regardless of whether or not we think so, we affect other peoples’ lives as well. Our words and actions will, to some degree, shape who others are as people.

We’re going to change how others see their college experiences and how they live their lives after school.

It’s a scary thought, being able to influence people without realizing what we’re doing, so we have to be careful with our actions.

We don’t want to be that person that people talk about when they’re giving bad examples of college life. We need to be the helpers and the counselors who help make the four-year transition period easier.

One time when our impact can be important is between semesters. Vacations and graduation can be lethal to a friendship that’s healthy during the semester. We can’t let distance keep us from showing the people who are important to use that we still care even though we can’t enjoy each other’s presence.

A really great way to keep in touch with people in the semester breaks is to take advantage of our technology.

We already rely on our phones and computers so much, we may as well use them to keep building relationships that we’ve already established.

Everybody is busy. When we go back home, we have friends, family, classes and work keeping our attention, but we need to set aside a little time to reach out to our campus friends.

A brief daily conversation, whether through text, email or phone call, can do wonders for keeping a friendship alive over a long break.

Technology can never replace being able to talk with a person face to face, but since we have it, we may as well use it to bridge gaps and stop best friends from becoming just campus friends.