It wasn’t long ago that my best friends and I used to scroll through Instagram pictures and laugh to each other, “They went to college and only hung out with their high school friends? That’s so lame.” Not thinking that many of us would end up at the same college, we didn’t think it we’d ever fall victim to the inevitable high-school-friend-obsession.
In my mind, maintaining a long-distance relationship with high school friends wouldn’t be difficult. We’d constantly have a group chat going, and with the easy accessibility of Facetime or Skype, we’d have plenty of ways to feel like we were still connected. Visiting each others campuses on weekends would be new and exciting, and we’d make sure to make the most of our breaks at home. We’d be forced to grow and change separately, but they’d always be just a phone call away.
But when two of my best friends and I all realized we’d fallen in love with the same college, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. The tricky part was the art of turning these high school friendships into lasting campus friendships. I thought one of two things would happen: we’d either become totally obsessed with each other like the people we used to make fun of, or we’d go our separate ways and be too stuck on our new friends to remember the friendship we once had.
I was under the false impression that college would be just like high school. I thought you’d have to pick a group of friends and they’d be pretty much the only people you’d spend your free time with.
News flash: that’s not how it works. There aren’t cliques in college. College kids hang out with who they want to, and when they want to. So once my friends and I had spent the first couple weeks making sure we spent plenty of time getting to know our hallmates and classmates, we made time for each other. It wasn’t because we had to, or because we were too shy to make new friends, but because your high school friends are irreplaceable.
While opening up and letting people see how strange I actually am takes more time with my new friends, I know I always have my high school friends to be my true, strange, self around. After all, they’ve dealt with me the past four years. Think: if you weren’t tired of them by graduation, you probably won’t get tired of them, well, ever. They’re the ones that will know to take your phone away when you’re drunk dialing boys from back home – and they’re always down to blast 9th grade throwbacks on the way home from break.
Erase the myth that you shouldn’t be hanging out with your high school friends at college. My high-school-college-combo friends aren’t my only friends, but going to college with them has done nothing more than strengthen our friendship. It takes cooperation on both ends (especially when your dorms aren’t in close proximity to each other), but don’t throw away an amazing friend just because that’s what you think you’re supposed to do. As long as you’re open to making new friends, too, your high school friends and you will still grow and change separately – you just never have to worry that you won’t have someone to unconditionally fall back on.