Last week, I received a letter from The Posse Foundation that I wrote to myself on Aug. 10, 2010, just a couple of weeks before coming to Denison. Receiving the letter itself gave me an extra dose of motivation to finish my senior year on a strong note. However, this letter made me reflect on something beyond academics. It made me reflect on the depth of the friendships I have formed here on the Hill.

In this letter, I noted “always stay humble, because you could not have made it this far without those amazing people in your life who have helped you along the way.” This particular sentence struck me because I feel the exact same way today. I can’t help but to feel overwhelmingly blessed because I have found some amazing people that have allowed my Denison experience to be substantial. I have found friends.

When I say ‘friends’ I do not mean it in the traditional sense. The word ‘friend’ today could mean anything from a Facebook acquaintance to your lab partner. Does it refer to those who will be there for you regardless of what may come? I have found that the answer to that question is hardly ever.

For me, the word ‘friend’ means someone who will love you despite yourself, despite your fears and insecurities, despite your shortcomings, and despite what they bring to the relationship you have with them. It means being independent but going the extra mile when there is no road left and you have to build it yourself. It means being honest, respectful and loyal. It means reciprocating the love you are given.

The nature of our campus affords us with a better opportunity to form those friendships. We see the good, the bad and the ugly in each other, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Take advantage of it.

Seek out people who will applaud your triumphs and sympathize with your hardships, and your social life on campus will be a vastly more rewarding one.

Don’t just follow the crowd so you’ll have someone to party with on weekends. Do not find yourself in a position where you are hanging out with people who don’t care whether you fail or succeed, who only want to be with you as a step towards some other goal or who only wish to be with you during the good times. Make sure your friends add depth to your life, but remember that to have a friend, you must be a friend first.