College is fantastic, not going to lie. It’s the place where you gain your first ounces of real independence. It’s the place where you grow and change. It’s the place where you start building a future for yourself, and it’s the place where you meet people that will probably be in your life for a really long time. At least that’s how it’s been for me.
Summer vacation still has that blissful magic that can’t really be explained, but it’s tainted by one fact: a lot of your really close friends are dispersed across the state, or even the country. And it’s terrible.
In high school, all of your best friends probably live within a 10-15 minute drive from your house so when the bell finally rings during your last class you don’t really have to worry about seeing them. Honestly, you would probably see them in a few days or one week tops. It was convenient to say the least.
In college, I have friends from across the state–at least a three hour drive. I have a really good friend in Northern Michigan, which would be at least a four hour drive. And then I have a solid number of friends that live in different states: Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, California, Iowa, Vermont, Nevada, and so on. So when the summer months loom over our heads during finals week, there is a bittersweet feeling of knowing that you’re days away from stepping into that blissful time of sunshine and freedom, but it also means that we have to say goodbye to some very important people for a long stretch of time. For some of my friends, when I say goodbye at the end of the year it means I won’t see them for a few months. If you’re an emotional being like myself and you have too many feelings, it’s probably not wrong to assume that you’ve cried on the day you left college for the summer because you were saying goodbye to your friends. I have bawled both years. It’s fine.
In a way I feel like my college friends know me better than some of my high school friends just because a lot of my college friends have been by my side as I grew more into the person I wanted to be. I also see them all day everyday. In high school you go to school from 7a.m.-2:30p.m. and then you go home and you might not see them over the weekend. But in college, your friends are your family away from home. You live with them, you eat meals with them and you do entertaining activities with them.
When I come home from college, it’s always a weird experience to adjust to. I grow so used to having a set group of people around me at all times and then all of a sudden they’re not anywhere close to me. I can’t just drive down the road and see them, and I can’t walk downstairs and they be in a different dorm room. A lot of times, I feel really lonely coming home even though I’m still surrounded by people that are really important to me.
I have found comfort in the people that have made up my college family and when I don’t see them for long periods of time, it takes a toll on me. I need them because I’m used to surviving with them near me. I’m used to having that support system pretty much within earshot at all times, and I’m used to being part of their support system–and that type of connection and relationship is important to me.
Going even more in depth, I’m studying abroad in the fall for a semester which means I won’t see most of my friends for six or more months and that’s a daunting feeling. I’m not ready to face such a long stretch of time without them.
To all my college friends: I love you. Thank you for being in my life. I miss you dearly and we’ll see each other soon.