I remember dreaming of what college would be like in my early years of high school. I knew in my heart I wanted to be at an SEC school. I wanted to be on a huge campus. I wanted to be in a sorority, and more than anything, I wanted to live my dream of dancing in a massive stadium. While the thought of leaving my small town and my graduating class of a whopping forty-five people was culture shock compared to entering a school like the University of Georgia, the list of differences between your high school friends and college friends could go on and on, yet the lessons learned are much appreciated, and the memories are bittersweet.
On the first day of grade school, everyone becomes best friends. Your biggest worry is what time lunch will be served. However, college is absolutely not like the movies. You probably won’t have a ton of friends walking onto campus on the first day, yet you will have friendships that last a lifetime when you leave. Although we cherish many of our high school friendships, our college friends have probably experienced our late night breakdowns when you feel like you know nothing after hours in the library, imitating our professors (or maybe just the ones we aren’t fond of), having to make adult decisions because mom and dad aren't there, and having to learn some of the life’s hardest lessons in only one way, the hard way.
High school friends are always together. After school, before the football games, on the weekends, and even over holiday breaks, our high school friends are always there. The college friendship is a bit different. Between the hustle of classes, extra curricula’s, and the rare occasion of naps, we all have those friends that whether it be once a week or once a month, we pick up where we leave off. In high school, you spend the majority of the day with your friends, and sometimes after hours. In college, schedules are just as busy, and making time for your friends is important because you most likely won’t have all of your classes together. Putting in the effort in your busy schedule builds college friendships in a completely different way.
Study breaks. Study sessions with your high school friends are sometimes delirious, fun, and if you were anything like me and my best friend in high school (you know who you are) our study sessions usually turned into dance competitions and begging my older brother to play his video games. College study sessions are a bit different. They include tons of flash cards, laughing about not knowing anything after hours of studying, crying over not knowing anything after hours of studying, tons of coffee, dance breaks, and discussions on the last time we washed our hair (These things take time that is not present in college).
Friends are family. I was fortunate enough to go to a high school where it felt like one big family. In high school, you have your family to go home to after school. People always surround you, and sometimes privacy can feel lavish. However, in college, your friends are your family. You go from seeing your immediate family everyday to once every couple of months. Your college friends become the people you live with, eat with, spend your time with, study with, and the last ones you see before you go to bed at night. They are your home away from home.
I cherish the memories and friendships I have from high school, and I cherish the college memories to come. High school and college friends have several differences, yet mine have the most important common factor, family.