An Open Letter To The High School Friends I'll Keep In College

To My High School Friends, You're Part Of My Past, And You're Going To Be Part Of My Future

You've all been amazing and I hope that I have the opportunity to tell each and everyone one of you exactly why in person.

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Even though this article is going to be published after Galentine's Day, and I most definitely will be mentioning more than just my gal pals, I figured that this is the best time to give a shoutout to my friends back home. This article is dedicated to the people I grew up with or met just before college, the people who impacted my life in more ways than one and helped shape into the person I am today. Without childhood friends and the groups I joined throughout high school, my life would be so much different and much blander.

We all have those friends

As we go through school year after school year and then some, we all have those friends we can never forget. The people who were there for us at our highest and lowest points, the people who will be there for a lifetime. These are the friends who know exactly what to say and when to say it. They're more than just your best friends. They're the people who will be there within the second of your call, no questions asked, and the people who will be there through it all.

Friends that became family

Growing up with my extended family all the way across the country, holidays and major life-changing events were celebrated with our closest friends. These friends were five or six other families with children around my age, that I got to see plenty during the year, oftentimes practically every week. I spent countless nights at each of their houses, with many of the older kids seeing me as the annoying little sister they had to look after. There were annual trips up to the Poconos and several photo albums made to commemorate them that I still look at to this day.

My mom once posted a picture on FaceBook with the caption "There are friends. There is family. And then there are friends that become family." Looking at the photos that went along with these words, I find that there is nothing truer. While we may not be related by blood, the memories that we have made bond us in ways that are stronger than you could possibly think.

Childhood friends and memories

These are the kids I met, starting in kindergarten and spending at least six hours a day with until middle school. My friends from this part of my life got to know me as the shy girl with a couple of close friends, and eventually the awkward person I became as I grew up and puberty hit. But, they were still able to look past all of that. With these friends, I colored like it was nobody's business and swapped books when it was time to go to the library during school. I ate lunch and played kickball with these kids. While we may talk once in a blue moon or not at all, these are still the first friends I made and the friends that I will never forget.

High school life

Very few kids from my middle school ended up at the same high school as me, so going into my freshman year was quite scary. I knew that I was going to be surrounded by hundreds of strangers and that I was going to need to find a new group of friends to hang out with. But, being apart of a program at my high school lightened the load and help me out quite a bit. I became close with the thirty, eventually twenty, other kids studying animal and botanical sciences with me and look back at the field trips, events, and competitions we participated in for kicks and giggles. I made friends outside the program, of course, getting close with my peers in various classes and electives, finding a group that I could talk about things other than farmer business with.

Eventually, towards the middle of my junior year, I found my niche with five other girls who really got to know me. These were the girls that I could spend hours talking over the phone or texting about dumb things, the girls that I still talk to regularly today even when we're over hundreds of miles apart. I know these girls like the back of my hand and miss them every single day. I look back at the countless photographs and Snapchat videos with a smile on my face and laugh a ton. They're the friends that I look forward to seeing when I go back home, the friends that will forever be in my life. I plan on being at their weddings, even if it means I have to crash the event (inside joke!).

Just a small thank you

Just like I said, this article is dedicated to everyone I mentioned above and more. It's a small show of my appreciation for all of you, along with the joy and laughter that you've given me. It's my way of saying thank you for the most significant memories and years of my life, providing me with the ability to look back at certain places and things, only to burst out laughing or into tears. So, with my whole heart, thank you, everyone. Thank you to everyone who I fought over stupid things with, everyone I laughed so hard I could barely breathe with, everyone I cried over cartoons with, and honestly just everyone who I've had the opportunity to meet and spend time with. You've all been amazing and I hope that I have the opportunity to tell each and everyone one of you exactly why in person.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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7 Signs You've Found An Authentic Friend

Never take true friendships for granted.

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In a generation like ours, sometimes it's hard to distinguish a lifelong friend from a temporary one. There are friends for every part of your life: your childhood friends, college friends, work friends, and even friends that you play poker with at your retirement home. But one thing holds true during your life journey, hold on to your authentic friends. Here's how to distinguish one from an ordinary friend.

1. They remember specific details you've told them in the past.

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How did they remember that your dog was turning 12 on June 6th? It's because they genuinely take the time to listen to you. This shows how much they care and want to know about your life.

2. They care about your well-being.

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If you've heard your friend say things like "drive safe" or "text me when your flight lands", this shows how much they care about your safety. Authentic friends will make sure you are protected and feeling happy.

3. They always want the best for you.

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We all know there is a big difference between a jealous friend and a supportive friend. Surrounding yourself with friends that want the best for you is important. More positivity will be brought in your life if you are aware of maintaining an encouraging environment for yourself.

4. They will be extremely honest with you.

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True friends say it like it is. They won't lie and tell you your skirt matches your shoes if it doesn't. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to distinguishing a genuine friend.

5. They keep your secrets safe.

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You can trust them and tell them anything. Authentic friends won't repeat secrets you've told them to anyone else, and this is such a refreshing feeling! These are reliable and trustworthy people.

6. They will go out of their way to help you.

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This relates to caring about your well-being because they will do anything for you. Your true friends will go the extra mile without hesitation. They will be there for you wherever you need them and won't expect a favor in return.

7. They embrace your goofy side.

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Everybody's got one! If you are able to be your true goofy self around your people then you, my friend, have found a true one! Enjoy being weirdos together.

If any of your friends meet these criteria, then you are blessed! Never take your true friendships for granted.

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