Cameron Stillions, student, sat alone in the food court, headphones in, scrolling through Snapchat. Sitting alone, though, isn’t necessarily something he’s used to. During high school, Stillions said, he was the guy who knew everyone, both students who went to his school, and those who didn’t.
“It was easier to make friends in my high school than it is here,” Stillions said. “I was always that kid that had friends and knew everybody, because I’d always go hang out with my friends at other schools and then I’d meet their friends, and it’s just that big circle. There was also the fact that I’d grown up with most of the people at my school, and I already knew what they were about, and half of them were still as childish as they were in elementary.”
Maturity, as well as understanding and a sense of humor, are some of the main things Stillions looks for in his friendships. The lack of maturity at his high school, Shawnee Mission Northwest, compelled him to graduate a year early, something he decided at the very last minute.
“Graduating early has got to be the thing I’m most proud of in my life this far,” Stillions said “In August I decided to graduate early, and I walked at graduation that May. I didn’t like high school a lot; I didn’t like where I was at. I knew it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to keep up with the big workload, so I said, ‘okay, I’ll just do it.’”
Last-minute decision making seems to be a trend for Stillions — the only reason he’s attending the college in the first place is because he couldn’t make up his mind between The University of Kansas and Kansas State University this summer.
He eventually went with The University of Kansas due to their business program, as he plans on majoring in business management to help run the financial side of his uncle’s self-founded construction company.
Stillions plans on transferring to The University of Kansas at the end of first semester and is glad for the opportunity to make new friends, something he found especially difficult to do at the college.
“At this school, I tend to be very quiet,” Stillions said. “A lot of people are just here to do their own thing; they come here to go to class and that’s it. Everyone seems to be in their own world, and they don’t want to talk a lot. So, I just keep my headphones in, relax and Snapchat my friends.”
Stillion’s isn’t a stranger to hard work — between supplementing his seven-period schedule with online and summer classes last year and working three jobs during the summer — and his friendships are no different.
“It’s very important to be understanding in a friendship,” Stillions said. “One thing that a lot of the kids back at my high school wouldn’t get the full story before reacting. They’d never fully want to understand what was going on or how that problem could be fixed.”
Rather than ending friendships at the drop of a hat, as he said the people at his old school tended to do, he prefers to face problems head-on and work through them.
Stillions said, “I’m a person who wants to figure things out. If I truly do care about you, I’m going to work to keep you in my life. It’s only if I see zero effort from your side that it’s truly over.”