With college comes a new group of friends. Throughout the first few months of school, you are constantly meeting new people. Slowly but surely, you begin to build up your new little crew. These first few months are exhausting because you’re trying to figure out these new friends. Of course, you’re learning what everyone’s favorite foods are, who drinks Starbucks, who stays up the latest.
But you’re trying to really figure your new friends out. Like what makes them laugh the hardest and what it is that they miss the most from home. You want to know if they were closer with their dad or their mom and what it is that they’re the most passionate about.
College is different because one day you’re at home, surrounded by the friends who have been by your side since the beginning. The people who did a lot of figuring out with you by their side, whether you realized it or not. One day those are your people and it all just makes sense. You know who you can only spend a couple of hours with and who you can spend days on end with. You do a lot of growing up together. You make some mistakes together, but really you have a ton of victories together. You go through milestone after milestone with these people by your side.
And then all of a sudden, those people are in the same situation that you’re in, only in a different town, city, state, all with different people.
College friendships are entirely different. Because you all show up with completely different pasts, but with more or less one common goal. Instead of sharing a similar past with these people in the way that you did with your childhood friends, you’re here just trying to take all that you can from these next four years with these new people.
It’s a complete reversal. You go from sharing your past to sharing a future. Of course, in both, there are countless things that make each person’s journey unique. But just like you were stuck in the same hometown with those people, your stuck on the same campus with these people. It’s starting over, but different. And with it comes new challenges that I don’t think I was expecting.
Maybe I thought that I would find friendships just as strong as the one’s that I left at home. But that was naïve. Those friendships were cultivated through years and years of growing up, fighting, crying, laughing, and learning. I shouldn’t have expected for friendships to have come as easily as the one’s that I left.
It’s even harder now because it is so incredibly easy to stay in touch with those friendships from home. You’re constantly seeing pictures and hearing stories because it is that easy. Don’t get me wrong, this is something I am so thankful for. Because of technology I can skype with my family each week and talk to my best friend on the phone throughout the day and text my friends throughout my week. But technology brings along a certain expectation that because it is easy to stay in contact with everyone, that you should. I’ve found that sometimes this makes things even harder.
It is hard to commit to the people that you are now doing life with if you are constantly trying to maintain friendships from home. It’s a balancing act. Of course. I don’t want to lose any of those friendships. But if I’m never willing to loosen the rein just a little bit, I know I will never build the true, deep, sustaining, lifelong friendships that college promises you.
So, don’t worry. Friendships don’t happen overnight. They take weeks and months and years. But if you are constantly putting the friendships from home above the relationships and experiences here, you will miss out. Those friendships are coming. Don’t overlook all the work that went into building them.
As tiring and overwhelming as it can seem to find the people who make you laugh the most and push you to be all that you’re dreaming to be, it is worth it. Even in the missing your childhood friends, it’s worth it. And even in these very beginning stages of friendships and memories, there are glimpses of lifelong joy that I know these friends will bring. It’s worth it.