When I was making my college decision I stood out amongst my high school peers because I was almost exclusively considering out-of-state options. In Ohio, where I’m from, college applicants rarely venture far outside state lines. This meant I wasn’t just leaving home—I was leaving all my friends.
During first semester, we meet so many people and may even become part of a group that we feel like we have known forever. We may then see the friendships in our lives shift into groups: friends from home and friends from college. While effort is needed to maintain both, there is a special sort of work needed to keep those high school friendships strong.
When I moved into BC and my parents drove away, I became an island with no real connections. I looked around and thought that I would never be close to any of these strangers like I was to my high school friends. But before long, I was contemplating how it was possible that I had only just met my BC friends. Like any kind of friendship, my college relationships snuck up on me and surprised me with their depth when I first returned home.
Over Thanksgiving break during freshman year I was constantly busy. There were so many people to see and such a small amount of time to catch up with them. With each successive break, I watched this number dwindle. Many of my high school friends went from people I had to see when I went home to just another "like" on my Instagram pictures.
I’ve learned so much since I was a wee freshman waiting for the Newton bus. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned that while every relationship we have in our lives is different, each one requires effort from both parties to keep it alive.
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I came to the realization that not everyone I hung out with in high school was worth staying in touch with. It happened organically. Many of these people were only friends of convenience, whose lives I now keep up with over social media. I know that when I graduate from BC next spring I’ll see the same concept with many of the friends I’ve gathered here.
Others—who I consider my truest friends—I will miss in a way I never missed my friends of convenience. These are the people whom we are truly blessed to have in our lives. When something happens we feel compelled to tell them about it; they cross our minds when we see something they would like or when someone says something they would say. Without seeing them as often as we once did, the nature of our friendship will undoubtedly change, but that doesn’t mean those people are any less than our new acquaintances. It would be a shame if we were too consumed in our own college bubble to reach out to those whose friendships mean so much to us.
Since my freshman year I have lost touch with more than a few high school friends. I regret those who I have grown apart from on account of my own lack of effort. It’s a commonality I’ve seen amongst many of my peers. By junior year, many of us set in our roles here; there is a flow of honesty I didn’t pick up on my first two years. No longer are we trying to pretend like each night out was amazing or each trip home was stellar. I’ve come to realize I’m not the only one who gets bored after a week of being home. I’m also not the only one who has lost friends from high school.
This practice is a pattern that will follow us throughout life as we make transitions. Even something as simple as going on a semester abroad requires work. People we are used to spending everyday with may be an ocean away. Technology is helpful, but we still have to buck up and write the text, send the email, and schedule the FaceTime.
But I doubt anyone would say that it wasn’t worth every second.
Relationships come and inevitably go as we all continue on our own journeys toward our own goals. It’s up to you to realize which relationships are worth keeping—you have the power to choose who is or isn’t in your life. It’s true that many people will separate themselves from you in their own right, but if someone is worth it, you'll thank yourself for at least letting them know you care. No matter how many states separate you, there are some relationships that are worth the work.