7 Stages of Separation Anxiety from Your Home Friends

The end of the summer is bittersweet. You're filled with excitement for the new semester, but also sad about the impending goodbyes. This summer was the fourth time I had to say goodbye to my best friends from home as we all parted ways to go live our separate lives at different universities up and down the east coast. It's easier now than it was at the first goodbye because we've had plenty of practice—the short breaks that always seem like such a tease, leaving to study abroad, interning out of state—but that last hug still breaks my heart a little bit each time. If you too are lucky enough to have a posse at home that holds a special place in your heart, you have probably been feeling the separation anxiety set in now that we are at the one month (feels like one year) mark in the semester.

1. August 1st hits and you start panicking.

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You’ve still got a few weeks left, but you can feel the dreaded moment moving towards you at record speed. You pretend you’re not counting down the days, but secretly in your head, you are, and each passing day causes more anxiety.

 

2. The last hurrah!

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You hit up all your favorite spots together in town before the end of the summer. Most will usually (always) involve food, coffee, and wine.

 

3. Oh god. Today’s the day.

 

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Two things have changed over the four years of goodbyes for me and my friends:

1) We don’t say “goodbye” anymore, we just say “see you later.” We’ve made it this far, so we are stuck with each other now, regardless of how far we are from one another.

2) There are fewer tears, but tears nonetheless.

 

4. Three days into the separation.

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When you realize it’s only been three days but it feels like an eternity. The urge to text your besties every detail of your day is still very strong. You find yourself constantly saying “this summer” to your college friends, and they just don’t seem to quite understand your obsession with your home friends.

 

5. Long phone calls and FaceTimes.

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You have transitioned from texting your friends every minute detail to having a couple of long conversations per week. You talk a mile a minute, reminisce on inside jokes, and catch up on the latest gossip.

 

6. BREAK IS APPROACHING!

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It is almost time for the highly anticipated reunion. Messages in the group chat start to pick up, and you and your besties have started the countdown. You post cliché articles on their Facebook walls about best friend reunions or new activities you need to try together.

 

7. Return to the home front.

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Whether it's been weeks, months, or even years, there is no doubt you will run into each other's’ arms (and maybe even shed a tear of pure joy). Your whole town knows you are reunited because you are camped out at your favorite spot downtown for hours catching up. As we get older and begin branching out beyond our hometowns, such blissful moments are fleeting. Enjoy them while you can!

Survival tip: Check in with your home friends often, but do not forget to enjoy the people and things around you! You went away to college for a reason. Explore all the new place has to offer because home and your gal pals will always be there, but the unique university experiences will not.