You switch the tassel on your cap from the right to the left. Diploma in hand, you join the rest of your high school classmates and file out of the commencement service. You are finally ready to start the next phase of your life.
But there are some things you never thought you’d leave behind: your friendships. You want to hold onto those memories of days in the lunchroom, or sitting in the back of math class, or riding the afternoon bus. After all, there’s a reason you call these people your BFFs, your best friends forever.
As you head off to college in the fall, you might be hit with a reality check. It’s a lot harder than it looks to keep in touch with your high school friends. Time, distance and different interests might all be contributing factors to keeping you apart, but regardless of how it happens, here’s what you need to know about accepting that your high school friends may not last forever.
1. IT’S OKAY TO GROW.
Your first year of college marks the beginning of the rest of your life, and it starts with becoming an adult. As you figure out what your major should be and how you want to use it, you’ll be discovering yourself at the same time.
You might even mature at a different rate than the rest of your high school friends, and that’s okay, too. Everyone grows at their own rate; don’t compare yourself to anybody else’s progress. Focus on your growth, and sooner or later, you’ll find yourself where you need to be.
2. IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE.
As you grow, some of your likes and interests will change. This is only natural. On the college journey of self-discovery, you’re bound to uncover hidden truths about yourself.
Again, your high school friends are doing the exact same thing. The next time you see them, you might not have anything in common anymore, except for your memories. You can still cherish those moments you had together without feeling like you have to desperately cling to the past.
3. IT’S OKAY TO BRANCH OUT.
Don’t feel like the only people who can understand you are the ones you left back home. Leave your door open, both literally and figuratively. Get involved with campus groups and intramurals. Join Bible studies. Meet new people.
As you grow in your faith and your interests change, you can invest in friendships that will cultivate what you have newly discovered. This doesn’t mean you are trading in your old friends for new ones; it means that you’re choosing to be open and let other people in.
Remember that friendship requires effort, whether someone is a friend kept from high school or a new one made at college. It involves inserting yourself into other people’s lives, not because they can do something for you, but because you want to be with them.
When it comes to friendships, you get what you give. Make sure you’re giving your friends time, effort and understanding, and you can’t go wrong.