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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Mylee Shultz

In my senior year of highschool, not only did I have to move to another school, but another state entirely. Although it was only from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, the distance was a little over two hours. This change challenged me in so many ways–the idea of starting over after thirteen or so years, just to inhabit an entire new environment for nine months. Now, looking back on it as a sophomore in college, I am thankful in many ways for this experience. I transitioned from a fairly large school to a much smaller one, making my presence noticed among my new peers. Being noticed by others intimidated me, and for a while I did struggle to feel like I truly belonged. There was a part of me that hoped to find some new friends, of course, but for a while I wondered if that would even be possible. As someone who has a difficult time trusting other people, it seemed as if there was no likelihood of this happening. In the end, I was fortunate to meet some really genuine, loving people. Back in my hometown, I still had my friends there, one of them being someone who I did not go a day without texting. But there was also something so exciting about clicking with people who I had not known that long, though it felt like it nonetheless. Highschool quickly came to an end in June of 2022, and for that entire summer before college I had made sure to soak up every memory that I could. Two and a half months went by, and as it is known, the good times couldn’t last forever.

 My freshman year of college I had chosen to attend my local community college, which is only about 15 minutes from my house. After all, I was still new to the state and had not even been living in my new home for a year yet. I was in no rush to leave and start anew all over again. While I decided to stay in my town, all my friends, all of my new and old friends were off to start new chapters of their lives: whether that’d be in-state, or out-of-state in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, or even California. You may think that you can mentally prepare yourself for the time you and your friends part ways, but that doesn’t even come close to preventing the pain of finally separating. Last year was difficult for me because I was left alone, but also because I had to see what my friends were doing while I spent a year at home. Fast forward a whole year later and now that I am at West Chester–it hasn’t gotten any easier being away. 

In the digital age that we live, keeping in contact is easier than it may have been a few decades earlier. Even if we are not directly keeping in touch with our friends from back home, we have the ability to see what is going on in their lives through social media. For the most part, I’m thankful for these apps because even if it is someone that I am no longer close with, it is still nice to know that they are doing well and working to be the people that they want to be. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a sap. Yet, there is always some part of me that feels a little bit smaller every time I see one of my girlfriends living out their days without me. When you grow to care for someone so much and they become part of your daily life, it feels nearly like a betrayal when one day that connection abruptly is put on hold. 

If there’s something to be learned about being at a distance with all my friends, it’s to a.) build trust and b.) to express love more. Even now, I am not someone who is very good at expressing my love for someone through words or physical expression, but if there’s any moment when I can tell my best friend that I love and miss her, I do. I’ve even done this at times when it seemed like I shouldn’t–such as after a ten minute call or even over direct message. What’s comforting about this,is that by some inexplicable means, my friends have reciprocated this practice. Maybe separation has pushed us to show affection when we least expect it. Some of my friendships seem more sentimental than others; my best friend and I specifically avoid love bombing at all costs. However, never would I have guessed that those hugs that I can receive from her, despite being slightly uncomfortable, would mean so much to me. As of now, we are about two and a half hours away from each other, yet it feels as if a part of her is always with me. This connection that I have with her is so special to me that I couldn’t imagine living without it, and I can safely say that I am willing to keep it this way for as long as I am able. 

Something else that college and my relationship with my friends has taught me, in a more poignant sense, is that the people that you may have been close with were never that great after all. This has perplexed my mind many times, leaving me to realize that people that I stayed along with throughout the years was due to the sole fact that I was stuck with them. When we are around the same people nearly every day, it is impossible to fully avoid them, leaving us to acclimate to our everyday environment. When the time does come to part ways with these certain characters, it is nice to know that there is some baggage to be left behind. What would be even better as a result of this realization would be the pleasure of meeting actual good people; some instances I would find myself thinking “is this what healthy female friendships are supposed to be like?” This questioning was so life-changing to me–my idea of my worth had improved as a result and my perspective of genuine friendship had been altered. 

Albeit, five years from now, or possibly even one, our lives will not look the same as they do now. We have limited control over this truth and sometimes our relationships with others, even ourselves, go in a different direction than expected. This being my last year as a teenager, I have had to come to terms with the fact that my friends and I are at the age of pursuing lifelong jobs or furthering our education with purposeful intent. The time for youthful leisure is lessening (for now at least) and our existence in this world is becoming our own. You hope that as you grow older that there are parts of yourself that grow along with, or maybe on the other hand wither away. I know for me, my values are constantly changing with each year; something I may have liked a year ago can very well be something I no longer enjoy today. As a result, it is important to have people in your life who support your values and goals, not necessarily meaning that they have to believe the same. If anything, it is crucial to have people in your life that are at least a little different than you. I envy a good amount of my friends because they are different from me. However, if you do have people in your life that are not supportive of what is important to you, then they are not someone worth being an everyday part of your life. In the end, through the years’ constant ups and downs, we ALL owe it to ourselves to adorn our life in the most beneficial way. 

I am so grateful for the people in my life now despite what terms we may be on. Space is also a very normal part of relationships, and in some cases it brings people even closer together once time has passed. To those of you that may be going through a rough patch with your long-distance best friend, my final piece of advice I can give to you is to not forget what brought you close in the first place. Understand that they are probably going through the same feelings as you, the same discomfort as you. In the end, I wish nothing but the best for the people that I have come to know, whether they are in my life now or not.

Mylee Shultz

West Chester '26

My name is Mylee, I am a sophomore majoring in Communication Disorders in hopes of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. However, I am extremely in love with writing and reading, and media in general. In my free time I enjoy watching new movies (or ones that I've seen one hundred times before). I was raised and grew up in Pennsylvania, but am now living in New Jersey. When I am home, I enjoy being in the company of my family, friends, and dogs.