I remember the day that I said goodbye to my high school friends and how tough it was. I was the first person to leave out of my friend group, which made things even sadder. We were all going to colleges so far apart from each other and not knowing when we were going to be together next was really scary.
Going to a college that was so much bigger than my hometown was a hard adjustment at first. At the beginning of the year, I was so busy with classes and life at college that I didn't even think about being home or missing it. Soon enough, I started making friends in college and slowly felt like I was making my friend group back home in college.
As the months progressed, I started comparing my friends in college to my friends back home. As soon as I would get good news, I would tell them causing me to rely on them more and more.
I remember talking to a friend about how much I was struggling with this and she said:
"No matter how good your friends are in college, nothing is going to compare to your friends back home."
Even though I didn't want to hear that at that time, I realized how important it was for me to hear it. The friends that you make from your hometown are the first people that you make connections with, and something special comes with that. I always had pretty awesome friends but didn't feel like I had an actual friend group until senior year. When I found this group, I knew that we'd be friends for a long time.
When I left my friends back home, I was worried that we would become distant. As excited as I was to see meet new people and make new friends, I still wanted a little piece of home with me. My friends luckily thought the same thing created a Snapchat group chat.
Since August we've shared everything happening in our lives through this group chat. We've FaceTimed, talked about our hometown and asked for life advice. The saying "distant makes the heart grow fonder" is so true with this group. Not a lot of people can say that they're still close with their friend group back home and I'm part of that small percent.
When we finally saw each other over Thanksgiving break it was like we hadn't skipped a beat. We were the same people that we were in August just at different schools.
While I've been blessed with my friend group, some people aren't as fortunate. They don't have anyone to come home to over break. Most people from my hometown want to get out of it as soon as they graduate leaving behind their friends and I didn't want to be that person.
If there's one thing I've learned about maintaining long-distance friendships, is that sometimes it takes patience and strength. There will be days where it seems like we're growing apart and days where I like my college friends more than my hometown friends. However, there will be days where I feel like they're the only people who understand me. I also learned that takes an understanding that we might get closer to our college friends and that it's OK if we do.
My point is that going to college and making new friends doesn't mean ditching your old friends. Just because you grow out of your hometown doesn't mean you should leave the people who made it great.