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What You Realize About Your High School Friends After Moving Away to College

If you are like me, you just finished your first summer back home from college. I was dying to see my friends again after a couple of months away from one another. The end of finals meant dreaming of all of the fun I was going to have at the beach, going into the city, and just having some well-deserved time outside of going to work of course. However, when I got home things did not go as expected with my high school friends. I don’t think I was quite prepared for this change. If you haven’t experienced this yet, or you’ve gone through this a couple of times already, keep reading!

I had a pretty nice close friend group of about four girls (including myself) and five guys. We did everything together and had a blast hanging out during the year and through the summer while still going to the same school. Now because of Covid-19 making my senior year-end earlier than usual, this did affect some of my friends going away to school. Last fall only myself and two of my friends ended up moving to school, while the rest completed their first semester at home and online. Regardless of whether they stayed home or went away, the distance and time apart did test our relationships. 

While I was at school I still regularly texted and face timed one of my friends who moved away to school. We have always been super close, so I knew we would still keep in touch often. Another one of my friends I called on occasion to catch up. With my other friends, maybe we talked more in the beginning, but later as I would try to reach out, they’d be busy or we just wouldn’t have the time to talk. For months we had been living completely different lives, living and spending every day with new friends, going through new experiences. 

When it came time to come back in the summer, I found two of my friends and I eager to make plans, which we did and we had a great time seeing each other and catching up. As for the others. I had been home for about two weeks and hadn’t heard from them even though they were home the whole time. I did eventually get to see them, just once and very briefly. We didn’t talk about hanging out again after that. I honestly felt uncomfortable and like I didn’t know what to say. It’s hard to not speak to someone for months and then expect everything to be the same. 

With the majority of my friends, I had realized that now that we weren’t going to the same school we didn’t have much in common. That was all that brought us together, was having the same teachers and going through the same experience at the same time. It is those outside common interests and hobbies that kept me closer with certain people rather than others. 

I realized I have different goals now, career and personal. Things I want to accomplish, places I want to go, etc. Surrounding myself with those who want those same things, and would be a positive influence in my life is what I realized I needed going into this new chapter of my life. Not that I became a completely different person after going away to school, but I did grow, learned a lot, and got exposed to a life different from what I was used to. I met people at school who accepted me for me. I didn’t feel like I had to hold back any part of myself as I had felt in some friendships previous. Even though it was a shock to my system at first, I now know this is normal and happens to almost everyone.

Julia McNicol is a sophomore at Lasell University studying Fashion Media and Marketing with a minor in Journalism. She can most likely be found shopping, dancing, or watching romantic comedies. Her instagram can be found at @juliamcnicol as well as @juliashannonxoxo for fashion specific content.
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