Anna Schultz-Best Friends Running Through Desert Adventure Road Trip

What My First Year of College Taught Me About Friendships

I had many worries when I started college, which were all pretty typical: the fear of living on my own for the first time, finding all my classes, and of course, largely accredited to the fact that I’m an introvert and "outgoing" is definitely not a trait that people would use to describe me, I was also worried I’d fall out of touch with my high school friends. I had always imagined myself surrounded by a heap of new people that would bring me a sense of individuality and independence in this new phase of life, but realistically, that didn’t happen. But even though I didn’t have a Hollywood-style journey of self-discovery, I’m okay with that. More than okay, actually, because I learned some lessons about friends that have made me much happier today than I have been in a long time. 

First of all, despite what people told me in the months before I officially left my house and moved out of my childhood, keeping in touch with my old friends from high school, even the ones who went to different universities across the country, was manageable. Especially during a time like this, I greatly appreciate them being there for me to talk about whatever may come to mind. Of course, there are some people who I was closer to a year ago and we happened to naturally grow apart, but it’s enough for me to know that we still care about each other, think about each other positively from time to time, and wish each other the best going forward, regardless of if we come back together or not, and it’s encouraging to have friends like that, too. 

I also learned, with these high school friends, that we don’t need to talk absolutely every day to know that our friendship is still there and stronger than ever. One friend of mine, who I’ve loved and valued since we met on the first day of our freshman year of high school – fourteen and scared for our lives – is absolutely conquering the world in computer engineering at UDub, and although we can go months without talking, she recently sent me probably the best text I’ve ever received, one that I still read often whenever I need something to lift me up. We talked about how when we first met, we said that our friendship would be one of those that lasts forever, and she said, “I still stand by that.” So even though her and I live completely different lives, she adds tremendous value to mine, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her and know that she and I will always be there for each other. Time doesn’t change that. 

There are also two things I’ve learned during my first year of college that I struggled with all throughout high school. One, I’ve never been a girl to be involved in a concrete “friend group,” where all of my friends are also friends with each other and my social life is largely centered around that, but rather, all of the friends I’ve been fortunate to make and maintain a meaningful relationship with don’t have to be friends with each other, and recently my want to hang out in a big group of people in order to be fulfilled has subsided. Second, although I’ve met some great friends at UDub so far, including my roommate and others I met at orientation, events and club meetings, classes of course, and whatnot, I’m going into my sophomore year still optimistic and open about who I may meet next. Even though next autumn I won’t be a freshman anymore, I still find it valuable to go into my second year of college with the “freshman mindset" in that way, in that I’m still hopeful to make new friends and connections going forward, although those opportunities may pop up at unexpected times.