Some of my greatest friends I met while in high school. Its cliché, but I truly believe that not all high school friendships end the day you toss your cap and walk the stage. Going to a state university makes this a little easier and allowed me to stay in contact with a lot of my old friends.
But unfortunately, not all friendships last, and you find yourself having best friends you tried to keep but find yourself growing apart from. These situations were what kept me up at night when I started my freshman year of college. The idea of starting over completely terrified me, and I would have done anything to keep my friends in my life forever.
However, during my freshman year, I learned some valuable lessons about the struggle that maintaining these relationships could be. And additionally, how to cope with the fact that your friendships may have been meant to just be temporary and not every friend you made in high school is meant to stay with you through college.
My friends from high school all split apart. We went to different schools all around Florida and one friend of mine even moved out as far as Indiana. Upon first leaving, there felt like there was a lot of pressure to keep each other constantly updated on our lives. I thought that for these people to stay in my life, I had to constantly remind them that just because we weren't physically together didn't mean that I didn't exist.
This was a terrible strategy. It was annoying and put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and my friends to be "perfect" and always in contact. Every weekend was pressure to travel to other schools and talk on the phone for hours, hurting our chances of making any friends at our new schools.
My second approach was to do the opposite. When I started to feel my friends slipping away (despite my greatest efforts) I began to isolate myself from my old friends completely and didn't attempt to make any new ones. I felt like I couldn't even talk to my close friends about how lonely I was feeling and that I thought everyone was moving on from me.
In addition to all the negative thoughts I was having, when I finally got to see my friends in person some things were noticeably different.
There was the newfound tension I felt when talking about academic achievement and success. College allows everyone to start over not just socially but academically as well. Grades and course schedules felt more like a competition to see whose life was harder rather than innocent small talk.
But the main thing I realized was how easy it is to outgrow the people you once considered to be your best friends. You might notice you have less and less in common with some of your old friends, and conversations may seem much more forced and unnatural.
Talking to some of my high school friends felt like an excuse to stay in the past and not move on to the next stage in life. And while a lot of my high school friends are fantastic (love you guys!!), a lot of times, people I used to consider my "besties" felt like a reminder of a person I wasn't anymore.
High school can be one of the most toxic times in your life, and I spent much of my high school life trying to please friends and not step on anybody's toes. I spent a lot of my freshman year remaining friends with the same people who made me this way, but why? College allows you to get that fresh start and to finally break away from the people who may have been holding you back, and I wish I had realized this sooner.
One of my closest friends happens to be the person who moved the farthest away from me, and I know that she will always be someone I can call when I just need a friend who will listen to me. College does not have to end your friendships, but rather allows you to focus on the true friends you have that help you to be the best version of yourself. And while that is not true of every friend from high school, it's important to realize certain friends are meant just to teach us something about ourselves, but not be a part of our future.