I think that I need to mention here, before I continue going on talking about all the amazing people I met in school, one more 'friend for life' that I was blessed with, that really made a difference in my college life - my cousin Jenni. Well, my whole family in general made a huge difference. I was very lucky that I accidentally decided to go to school in the same state, and within hours of, 5 of my mothers siblings and their spouses and children. That means that aside from just my grandparents living in the area, I also had 8 aunts and uncles who lived close, as well as 20-30 (depending on the specific time) first cousins nearby. This was a huge blessing for me since I didn't know anyone and I had a hard time making friends at first. It was also great because I got to know so many of my family members that I barely knew due to us living in a totally different country, a little bit better.
My grandparents have lived in the house they live in for a long time (I want to say going on like 40 years, although that might just be me exaggerating - I am not sure). About 15 years ago they went on an LDS mission to Tonga. Just before they went they decided to add on to their house by building a top floor*. It wasn't a top floor that was going to be part of the house, but rather, a separate apartment that they could rent out. After returning from their mission they moved back into the house and pretty much ever since have been renting out the other apartment to family members who either need help financially, or just those who want to live there at the time, or for whatever reason. When I lived with my grandparents, my Aunt Jeannie lived upstairs with her daughter Jenni, and Jenni's daughter as well. Jenni was in school at the time and her mom helped a lot with babysitting when she could and it was convenient for them to all live together.
Since I didn't have friends from school, and since Jenni lived right upstairs from me, we started hanging out. I am not sure what sparked it at first. I think maybe the fact that we both really enjoy reading books and talking about books and watching movies and talking about them, and writing things and then talking about them. Also, we both are into the whole sci-fi/fantasy thing which always seems to bond people. I didn't mind that I didn't have friends from school for so long because I would come home and then just go upstairs and hang out with Jenni. She and I would watch all sorts of dumb shows together, and go to movies all the time, and just hang out in general.
Sometimes when I tell people that I didn't do the whole living in the dorms thing, and I didn't even live anywhere near campus at all my first year and half in school they are like 'oh, that must have sucked'. And, for some reasons I agree. I had to ride the bus to school and that always sucked since it took like 20 mins, but I got to know the area by doing that. I couldn't just pop over to campus when I wanted because it was so far. I didn't have roommates to be automatic friends with. But, it was also awesome because of the time I got to spend with my grandparents, who are amazing people. And it was awesome because of the opportunity it afforded me to get to know Jenni better, and her daughter and her mother, and a bunch of other family members of mine.
I learned the importance of family. I learned that weird isn't always bad - in fact, it can be really good. I learned that in my family, I am actually not as odd as I am to people I am not related to (haha). I learned that family members can be your friends in a real way (I was friends with my brothers, but they were still my brothers so it wasn't the same). I maintain that Jenni and I are friends first, and cousins second. I also learned that red-heads aren't ALL bad ;)
*The sequence of events here might be a bit incorrect, at the time I was like 10-12 and we lived really far away.