As college students are reaching spring semester's midterm season, it's likely that they feel a bit more confident in themselves and their lives away from home. The newness of higher education is fading away, and campuses have become simple and familiar. As our new lives are settling down, it's a good time to reflect on what the past few months have done to our older friendships.
Distance is "taxing," but do-able.
“Going from seeing friends every day to only seeing them on breaks or vacations is taxing. Schedules aren’t as flexible as they were in high school, so it’s hard to remain in touch with friends as much as I once was.” – Brooklynne Mack, University of Nebraska at Omaha
“College really shows you who's truly always gonna be there for you. My best friend and I live cross country but he's always been there for me, so distance when it comes to school really takes a toll on friendships. You either come out stronger or it kinda crumbles out from under you. The people I used to talk to every day don't really talk to me much anymore, but [my best friend] checks up on me at least once a week to see how I am, and I do the same.” – Jasmine Smith, Colorado State University
“My friend Margie and I have always been close, but we've never been necessarily sentimental towards one another on an everyday basis. Since college has started, especially because we couldn't see each other over winter break, I think our friendship has become more special because we're able to look back on what we've experienced and share a lot of laughs. Now, rather than just talking about mindless things, we'll actually text each other pictures and say, 'I miss you!!' which we would have never done in high school. I think college made us both realize how much fun we really had together and that it's good to remind each other of those times, especially when college becomes really stressful.” – Nadia Racaniello, Ithaca College
Losing friends happens...
“I lost a lot of my 'friends' from high school. I can definitely say the relationships that I still have are much stronger. We grew a whole lot closer after everyone split. I hang out with my best bud every day in college. We hung out maybe once a week in high school.” – Aaron McCormick, Iowa Western
"I’ve found that a lot of my friendships have dissolved, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. The relationships I valued the most are still present, and even though I may not always text my high school friends, I know they are there for me and I know our friendship is still intact. My friendships have grown in a different way -— we keep each other updated on what’s important and make time to have more meaningful discussions because I don’t see them as often.” – Ashmita Roy, University of Toronto
“In one sense, [my friendships] have completely dissipated, but in another they have only grown through struggle, longing and reminiscing. Coming from a relatively small place, not a lot of people branched out super far from home. I feel like my experience is really different from most of my friends who I talk to now. When people from home talk to me I feel like they think they're talking to someone who almost doesn't exist anymore. I don't even mean that in a self-deprecating way, but a lot of them are used to seeing the same people that they've seen for the past 18 years. When they talk to me, it's like ‘Hello person who is so far away, I can really only picture you as a fond memory!’ and it's weird having that dynamic in a majority of my friendships. On the other hand, there have been a select few people who have recognized this distance and recognized that I'm extremely isolated from home life and work super hard to counteract that detached feeling, which has only made my relationship with these select people way stronger than when it was at home. It's an interesting parallel.” – Tejiri Smith, Johns Hopkins University
Or friendships can grow, like we do.
"I have noticed that my relationships have changed after going to college because my priorities have shifted. I focus more on what I need to do for classes and extracurriculars, where I used to focus on what my friends were doing, not only for classes, but also what they were doing after school. At the same time, I find that I am more interested in what they are doing at their schools and what activities they are participating in and enjoying. It is really cool to see how each of us have fit into our new roles at our own schools. Even since starting school I have noticed relationships have changed. At the beginning of our first semester, my best friend and I had a FaceTime schedule because we didn't see each other at all. We stuck to it for a while, but once we both got busier at our own schools, the FaceTimes became fewer and farther between. We still love to catch up when we can, but our conversations have changed to more filling in the time that we've missed than just talking about random things that we used to enjoy discussing. In a way the relationship has become more superficial just because of time and distance, but she is still my best friend and we send each other sweet texts or things that remind us of each other to remember that we will always love each other.” – Amber Menard, University of Nebraska at Kearney
"The friendships I've carried over from high school are ones that, now, I consider to be more robust. We're no longer friends of proximity, and at a big school like UNL, the fact we choose to make time for each other has only strengthened the relationship. The coolest part is seeing people you've known for years finally try out for that acting role you knew they'd always be good at, or finally stand up to their parents, or fall in love with their friend of several years. It's an exciting metamorphosis for sure." – Grant Harrison, University of Nebraska- Lincoln
Most importantly, the friends you're meant to be friends with will stick around.
“Most of my good friends I'm just as close with. I don't see them every day, but when I do it’s like we've never stopped talking. I no longer talk to a lot of people I did in high school, but the ones that have supported me through everything and were always there are still here for me. I've even become closer with some of my friends even though now we're hundreds of miles away.” –Brooklyn Mussman, University of Kansas
"Going off to college taught me that most of the 'friends' you had in high school were only intact because you saw them everyday. When you get to college you realize that friendships are relationships, and to keep them going you have to put in a great effort. You realize that not everyone is going to be the same when they come home from school during breaks, some people find themselves, become confident or sadly become worse. That also goes for friends that didn't go to school, sometimes you realize that they're not trying to go up in the world with you, instead they're trying to keep you down with them. You also figure out that those 'popular' people who reached their peaks in high school are not as great as you thought they were, and you end up unfollowing them on Instagram and Twitter." – Niye Asemota, Alabama A&M University
“Throughout high school I had two groups of friends. I had my very tight group of friends who I hung out with constantly. Then there were my friends that I saw here and there, over the weekends and that made an appearance at each others graduation parties. As far as the tight knit group of friends, I talk to them all regularly whilst still in college. I check in on their lives and they do the same, so other than distance, not much has changed. As for the other group of friends, our relationships have turned into more of a holiday. As in maybe once or twice a year we will get together and talk or grab a bite to eat. But thank god for Snapchat and Twitter because that is how I stay plugged into their lives without actually being a part of it. All in all not a crazy amount of stuff has changed just less face to face time.” – Dillon Brannen, Lindenwood University
No matter what happened to your high school friendships, you aren't alone in your feelings. Some relationships work, and other times we outgrow those we used to be closest with. The best part about friendships, though, is there's always the chance that a new one is right around the corner.
Lead Image Credit: Bryn Estlund