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Monday, May 20, 2024

If you've been following my columns throughout the semester, you probably know how much of a sap I am. I will be the first person to cry at a commercial involving soldiers and/or animals.

Before you ask, yes, I've seen that YouTube video of the dog greeting his returning-soldier owner, and yes, I cried at that, too.

What's nice about this season, in addition to Starbucks' delicious, syrupy drinks, is what the holidays do for all of us.

There are plenty of jokes about strained family get-togethers and about being alone during this season, but I choose to ignore them. The holidays are a chance for us to appreciate and recognize those who make our lives a little happier.

I was speaking with a friend last week about relationships and friendships. She reminded me that friends are people who make your life better. Real friends won't intentionally make your life worse - and if they do, it's time to let them go.

We then decided we are really good at giving advice, so we started a blog about it. It is the cool thing to do these days.

What some people don't like about holidays in general is that they remind us about the things we should be doing all of the time. Isn't it a little sad that we need to have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day to make us tell our parents that we appreciate all they do for us? Do we really need a Valentine's Day for us to tell our significant others that we love them?

Holidays have become a time for us to reconnect with friends. We get really busy in our lives. You are reading this during finals week, after all. More specifically, you're reading this on the day that I have an eight-page-minimum paper due, so I know what busy feels like.

So, maybe the holidays are based on the education system in this country: The two big breaks for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays give us all a breather.

We become so stressed during the school year - or "work year" for you professional types - that we forget to appreciate our friends and family. It's really easy to take relationships for granted because there are simply a million other things to do and think about.

Making friends isn't always easy, and I think it only gets harder as we get older. This year especially, I've started working on the quality of my relationships rather than the quantity. It's more important to me to have long-lasting bonds with people than to have a high number of friends on my Facebook profile. Why? Because I realized I'm practically a functioning adult now.

I'll wait for you to stop laughing because I can hardly believe it either.

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But really, think of your favorite sitcom characters and their best friends. They're pretty much all people that they met either during college or after they graduated.

Now think about your best friends. Are those the same people you want to hang out with in a decade? That's how I've been approaching this semester.

Now that this semester is coming to a close and my brain is five pounds heavier from writing/studying/thinking about where I'll move after college, I've been cultivating the important friendships in my life. I suggest you do the same. Because while enjoying a party with a large group of people is one thing, it's not imperative to the bigger picture of your life.

College is the final steppingstone between adolescence and real adulthood, so use it wisely. Learn a lot - about scholarly knowledge and about yourself. Use this holiday break to your advantage and grow a little closer to your friends.

Sami Main is a journalism junior at UF. Her column appears on Tuesdays.

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