There has never been a time in my life when I haven’t had to experience separation from my friends. When we were little, all of us went to sleep away camp for four or six weeks at a time. But being away from your best friends in college is so much different than being away from your best friends for a summer or a vacation. Over the years, my friends have taught me almost everything I need to know about myself, but there are six things that being away from my best friends since birth for two months has taught me.
1. Do Not Take Anyone For Granted
The adjustment period between first arriving to college and finally settling in is a lot longer than most people think. The friends you initially make in college are awesome people, but there is nothing like going to your best friends house when you need advice or just want a chill night and sitting on their couch eating under-cooked brownies because you were too hungry to let them completely bake. Those moments should not be taken for granted. The best memories I have are of me and my friends driving down the main road in our town, blasting Hannah Montana and One Direction, and it is those moments I miss the most. Don’t wish these moments away, because no matter how bad you think you want to get out of your town and find new friends, you will miss the best friends you have now more than you can imagine.
2. Be Yourself
I could always be myself with my best friends. No matter how weird or annoying I was being to them, they never judged me - instead they played along. I quickly figured out that if I didn't feel that way around the people I met here, they were not going to be the kind of friends I need. You should not feel like you need to change yourself in college to fit other people’s idea of a good person. There are hundreds if not thousands of kids on college campuses there will be a group of people somewhere who you can be yourself around. Find those people and cherish them.
3. Live in the Moment
Pictures are nice, but at the end of the day, no matter how many pictures I have of my best friends and I hanging in my dorm room, they will never replace the memories I have of us. I can look at a picture of us smiling from a certain party or outing, but that picture only reminds me of what we were wearing and where we are, not the memories that go along with it. If you are truly having one of those moments that make you think “wow, these people make me happy," don’t ruin it by being too obsessed with taking a picture. Everyone online knows what you look like, live for the moment and the memory, not the Instagram likes.
4. Quality Over Quantity
It does not matter how many people you know or how many friends you can make, but the quality of those friends. Having a few good people who you can truly trust, laugh with, and rely on is much more important that being surrounded by as many people as possible. No matter the size of your friend group, whether it is three people or nine people, if you truly feel like yourself and you can trust these people and have fun with them, then that is a quality friend. At the end of the day, it is going to matter who is there for you, not how many people are there for you.
5. Change is Hard, but it's Not Impossible
Yes, change is hard. There are moments, especially with in the first few weeks that seem like the world is crumbling and there is no way to get used to the way college works. But, as time goes on, the college experience will normalize, and everything will fall into place. At first, being away from my best friends seemed like the end of the world. I did not know how I was supposed to get to the level of friendship I was at with friends I had for fifteen years with girls I met three weeks ago. But it happens. You will find a group that makes you laugh until your abs hurt and will watch old, romantic movies with you while you cry. You will learn that change is good and you will be able to watch each of your best friends grow into the person you always hoped they’d become.
6. Never Forget Where You Came From
Even now that we are miles and miles apart, my best friends are still there for me. Late night FaceTimes and constant text messages never stop, because even though we are not together in distance, I still need advice from them. I am the person I am today because of my childhood best friends. That is something you can never forget. The friends you make in college are amazing, that is for certain, but you must always stay true to your roots and remember who helped you get to where you are. Support your friends, even from three-hundred miles away, because if you have made it from childhood to now, there is nothing holding you and your best friends back from making it over the next four years. Don’t forget that.
College is all about moving on, growing up and gaining new experiences. Yet everyday that I am here, I think about my best friends and everything they have taught me. And even though we aren't together right now, being apart from them have taught me lessons that I will hold on to forever.