By Abby Wargo
Going to college is hard—living in two different places for varying amounts of time can be tough, whether you’re a freshman or a senior. You see less of your family, your pets, and your friends, and, while family usually remains a constant no matter where you go, friendships can fade.
Some people can’t wait until they go to college to meet new people and leave everything behind them. Others keep their high school friends for a time, but after a while, they grow apart. Going to college doesn’t mean you have to lose the people you’ve known and been around your whole life. In today’s world, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch, which makes it easy to retain friendships long-distance, even with busy schedules.
Personally, my friend group for most of high school has stuck together remarkably well. At first, when I left, I wanted nothing to do with anyone from my hometown. College was about new beginnings. As time went on, however, I found myself wanting to reach out to my old friends and reconnect.
Friends from home have known you for longer than your college friends, in most cases. They’ve been to your house, they know your parents and siblings and pets, and—most importantly—they’ve seen you at your worst. They don’t just know about that one terrible band you loved, or that one awful haircut, or that weird person you dated; they’ve seen it all. They’ve also had fun with you. They know you well. And if you’re still friends with those people, there’s no reason you should lose them.
It’s not just about nostalgia for home, good times, or people who have had more time to get to know and understand you; it is also about keeping up with your friends’ lives while you are all apart. It’s great to see the kids you’ve grown up with become functioning adults. I love hearing about all my friends’ accomplishments at their respective colleges, and I am glad that I have those same people supporting my accolades.
Just because high school is over doesn’t mean you can’t make new memories with your old friends. Whenever I am home on break, I try to make sure that I visit all my closest friends. We usually have a party where we can all physically get together, tell stories, and just have fun.
Plans don’t always work out, and schedules can clash. Even so, my friends and I created a group chat so that we can talk anytime we want. It’s a great way to keep up without needing to make plans or travel. Casual conversations every so often or little life updates can go a long way if you want to stay friends.
It’s been two years since I graduated from high school and left my hometown, but I’ve been able to stay friends with some of the people I’ve been closest to throughout my college experience. Even when we aren’t in constant communication or seeing each other every day in school, I know that we will be lifelong friends.
As the Girl Scouts sing, “make new friends, but keep the old.”