Leaving for college spurs advice from everyone you know. Thoughts on majors, behavior and classes flood in from parents, teachers and friends. One topic that seems universal? High school sweethearts. Movies, TV and reality all tell horror stories of girls who ruined their freshman year by carrying their high school relationship to college with them. They portray the most important person in your life as a weight, someone who will only drag you down. This may be true for some, but to me, my high school relationship made my first year of college even better.

Freshman year is hard. You leave behind friends and family, and the first few months are uncomfortable. When I felt lost or lonely, there was one constant in my life. My boyfriend of three years was still with me. While we may not go to the same school, I had something steady and reliable that carried on from high school to college, making everything about the transition suck a little less. He became one less person who had to completely get to know me. There was a person in my life who still knew my past, but faced every minute of the future with me. In a sea of strangers, introductions and icebreakers fill the space that easy conversation and inside jokes once filled. One call to my boyfriend reassured me that I there were people out there who knew everything about me.

More importantly, college strengthened our relationship in a way I never imagined. Distance is not easy, but we learned it was worth it. In order to move away from someone you love and embark on a new journey, your relationship must rely on faith and trust in each other. That's exactly what grew as we spent a year six hours apart. A long-distance relationship can bring sorrow and loneliness, but it also brings insurmountable joy. The moment when you finally reunite with someone you've been apart from for so long is like a scene from a Nicholas Sparks movie. It's all hugs and laughter and pure happiness! That feeling is unlike any other in the world. Every never-ending drive or tearful goodbye disappears when you get to spend a few hours together.

So, feel free to listen to people when they warn you, "Don't let your high school boyfriend drag you down!" I, however, advise you to hold on to them with all of your strength. Throughout my freshman year, my boyfriend was my rock. He was a little piece of home, no matter how many miles apart, just a phone call away. He taught me to stay true to myself, even in an atmosphere of change, and that love is worth every mile in between. My high school sweetheart became my college sweetheart, and I wouldn't trade our experience for the world.