E-Community Activity: Developing Friendships

Send this message to the e-community of protégés and mentors.

Subject: Developing friendships

Successful individuals with disabilities have a lot to say about the importance of having a positive social life. They value relationships with other people. Below, young people with a wide variety of disabilities share their opinions about the value of a positive social life in college. Think about your level of agreement or the relevance to your life.

  • I can't stress enough the importance of at least trying to get out and be involved. It really doesn't matter in what—clubs, teams, friends, whatever. It won't be easy, but it's worth it.
  • I found people to be a lot more open in college than in high school. I made most of my friends in classes, in the dining hall, in clubs, and at the Lutheran Ministry at my university. I am still in touch with several people I met during my college years.
  • School consists of both social and academic learning. As I look back on my undergraduate days, I remember a lot more social times with other people than I do lectures or exams. And I'm not really a people person, either. I know I learned a lot from the social end of things. Some of that learning was painful, because when you make friends, people sometimes give feedback that you need but wouldn't otherwise get about behavior and attitude. This is part of people relating to one another and causes necessary growth. Mostly, though, socializing is fun, and being by yourself is lonely.
  • The key is to balance your social life and school.
  • For me, the debate team and the foreign language house provided communities where I felt accepted and had a good time.
  • Living in a dorm helped immensely by immersing me in the college social life.
  • My social life revolves mostly around people on my college dorm floor. I'm in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, too.
  • A lot of my social life resulted from my career goals. I wanted to be a programmer and hung around the computer lab—not exactly beer and pizza, but it was very social. There was great interaction and sharing of ideas and concepts. I think I learned more from the other students than from my professors.
  • There are many strategies to a fulfilling social life in college. You can join a fraternity or a sorority on campus or live in a dorm. Another way is to join a club that matches your interests. I made a lot of friends by joining a club.
  • I made one good friend in a class we were taking together. Every week, we got together and worked on the homework.
  • I understand that for some people making friends is not as easy as it is for others. But if you treat people in a friendly manner, they are going to treat you the same, whereas if you feel yourself so different from others that you don't talk to them, you find yourself totally out of place. Everyone is the same and different too. This is what is so good about the world.

Why is it important (or unimportant) for you to have a satisfying social life in high school and/or college? What special challenges do you face and what strategies do you use regarding the development of a successful social life?