Quick facts for you before I dig in...
1. You will make friends in college that are not the same age/year in
school as you.
2. Living in the same city, or in some cases same building, as your friends
will not last forever. Enjoy it!
3. Priorities will change for people, for good and bad reasons.
4. Friendships take work sometimes.
5. Social media can be great, but it will never take the place of actually
seeing your friends.
For the past three weekends I've gotten the chance to spend time with friends and family that I hadn't been able to spend much time with lately. Some of them I hadn't seen in three weeks or so, others it had been six months since seeing them. With that being said, when you stop and think about that, it really sucks to go long periods of time without seeing your best friends. Particularly when at one point you saw them anywhere from once to seven times a week! College is great, don't get me wrong, but this post is some of the things I've learned as a student, near graduate, and dealing with friends who have graduated. Everyone's situation is different, but this girl has learned a lot!
First, no one says all friends have to be the same year in school as you. They don't have to be the same major, plan to end up in the same town as you, same gender as you, same background, same hometown.. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. What's that saying, "Find your tribe and love them hard"? Well as silly as that quote may sounds to some people (me!), it isn't necessarily wrong. Every person, or every group of friends, has their quirks and reasons they're brought together. This can be a really good thing, or it can honestly be a bad thing. For me, it has been an incredible thing. Most of my friends have come from student organizations, work, and, unfortunately, group projects in class. Because of this, most of my friends I've had throughout college have had very similar interests to me, but even with that, my friends have dispersed all across the United States.
I regret nothing about who my friends are/were throughout college, but it was a huge change when the majority of them graduated a year to six months before I do. I love that you have the freedom in college to be who you want and hang out with who you want, but my advice to college students would be to choose carefully. Choose good people to be around and realize that if your interests or age are different, then once one of you graduates, things can and probably will change.
Second, living in the same town as all of your best friends is literally one of the best things in the world! It is something that I think most college kids take advantage of until it's gone, but I'm telling you right now, do not take advantage of that! Enjoy sleeping on couches, having the weirdest meals because everyone is out of groceries, doing homework while you drink a beer and yell at the baseball game on tv, enjoy all of it! Once one or more of you leave it becomes harder to see each other, or even to simply call each other. You can make it work, but don't take for granted the fact that the people you are closest too are physically close to you. Trust me, it is a lot easier to drive across town than it is to fly across the country!
Third, realizing people's priorities change is huge, but you also have to figure out what you're going to do about it. I'm not saying call people up and yell at them for not paying attention to you, or judging someone for choosing to pursue something different than they wanted in college. What I mean is, how much are you willing to put into ensuring your friendship with that person continues? How close do you want to stay to that person? I have quite a few friends that are essentially social media and, what I like to refer to as, "good memory friends". Ya know, the people who still like and comment on all your social media posts, as you do to theirs as well, and who you receive a text or Snapchat from when something reminds either of you of a good memory from the past. If any of these people called and said they needed help I would 100% do my best to help them or talk to them for however long they needed, but it isn't the same as when we all lived in the same city. I've realized this, it sucks, but you have to decide how much you're willing to put into these relationships. For me, there are some that I make a continuous effort to stay close with, but others have fallen into that "good memory friends" category, which is fine with me, but realizing you won't stay as close with everyone as you once were due to distance and priorities isn't easy.
"The most beautiful
discovery true friends
make is that they can grow separately without
Fourth, this kind of piggy-backs with the third topic, but friendships take work sometimes. Are you willing to work at it, or put some effort into maintaining it? Everyone on this Earth is busy and has obligations, but are you willing to work around those to hang out with your friends? Are you both willing to cut the distance in half for a visit? Can you set a date to do something and schedule around it to guarantee that time? There is not a right or wrong answer, but I've realized that to stay close with people after they graduate, or just move away in general, you have to put out effort to work to stay friends. If you have favorite sports teams, keep up on their team in addition to yours so you can talk to them about it. If you have a free weekend, go visit them. If there is a concert you both want to see, then buy the tickets and put it on your calendars asap. It's not as simple anymore as getting together at 9pm to watch the game or go out and then seeing them the next night to do it all again. You have to decide if you're willing to pay for an extra tank of gas, take a day off of work, or pay attention to their interests or lives even when they aren't around, so that you have that common ground and have designated time to still hang out.
Lastly, social media is great but it is not the same as hanging out in person with your best friends. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, texts, and all the other outlets there are now, you can keep up on people's lives better through the internet than you can from calling them on the phone. However, (and yes I am a millennial saying this) social media will never take the place of spending time with your friends. Most of my best memories from college stem from a spontaneous decision to go somewhere, playing a game of basketball in the kitchen, getting wrapped up in a sporting event in which none of our favorite teams were playing, or something equally as random. You can't get that from sharing memes on Facebook or sending a Snapchat with a deer filter over your face.
My advice for you all is to take the time to see your friends as much as you can, when you can. I need to take my own advice on this one. It is important to your friendship with that person or persons, but it is also important for yourself. After spending the past three weeks with friends that I hadn't seen in awhile, yes I am behind on school work and work, but it feels good to have fun and be around people I miss more than I ever admit to.
College and graduating college are great times in a person's life, but there are drawbacks with everything. The more you can learn about what's ahead, the better you'll be at dealing with it. I'm still trying to figure out how to maintain relationships and visit people. It's a work in progress.