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What Its Like Leaving Your College Friends After Freshman Year

Everyone goes to college excited for their next chapter, excited for a new beginning, excited for a whole new group of friends. A fresh start to be whoever you want to be. It is refreshing to be able to meet people because of who you are, and not because you attend the same high school. In college, nobody cares about who you used to be, people are interested in who you are becoming. Forced friendships and fake acquaintances are on no ones bucket list here, I don’t know if its God or fate but somehow you land in the right place with the right people.

Everyone would always tell me how easy it would be to make friends in college, they made it sound easier than it actually was. Being able to read peoples vibes and energy made me distance myself from those that threw me off right away. I didn’t come to college wanting a hundred new friends, I thought “I’ll keep my circle small, I have enough best friends back home”. Yes, I kept my circle small, but you can never have enough best friends.

I met my best friends here through Greek life, and through them I met some of my other really close friends. Being in a sorority of over 270 girls, it should be a given that you will find your friend group. It did not take long to bond with the people that I can not imagine my life without. My roommate and I became best friends as well, no matter what I knew that every night I had someone to talk to, someone to vent to, someone to cry to. That is so important. How did I go 18 years without them? How did I get so lucky? Questions I would ask myself every time we found ourselves laughing for 10 minutes over something so stupid, or every time one of us was hurting and needed somebody to lean on. Because college is hard and you go through a lot of crap, I suggest that you have your people. It makes the good times and the bad times a whole lot easier.

Whether it was studying in the library together, going out and partying on the weekends, late night Taco Bell runs, it did not matter. As long as we were together we knew we would have a good time. We spent first semester together and then it was time for the first departing. Going home for winter break was “make sure you text me every day” and a longer hug than usual. It was prepping for the real goodbye… the one that I did not know would be so hard. When you say goodbye to your high school friends it surely is not easy, but everyone has comfort in the fact that they know they will be back in the same spot that summer, no ones going anywhere. But in college, you have friends from all over the nation. Mine spread out to Alabama, Chicago, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, and I head back all the way to Minnesota. You spend 9 months with these people and in the blink of an eye you are forced to leave the place that was the reason you met them, behind.

We have all been dreading it. We knew the time was coming, every week it was a count down of who was leaving when. All of a sudden it was the day. Just recently I had to say goodbye to two of my dear friends and I haven’t thrown a tantrum like that since 2002. We parked outside of my dorm hall and after pushing it off for as long as I could, I said “its not going to get any easier so lets just do it”. My first hug was fine, I thought I maybe was only going to shed a few tears and then my second hug came and as soon as I felt the squeeze I just couldn’t stop. I didn’t care about my mascara and I wasn’t even trying to wipe it away, I just let it flow. Five minutes was spent holding the car door crying my eyes out, not ready to leave them for 3 months. I knew I could have stood there all night so finally I just walked away while bawling and whaling like I had just broken my leg or something. “I love you guys!” *sobbing* “We love you!”. Sounds funny, it kind of was, but in reality my heart was aching. My wholeness kind of feels like it’s withering away. I have a maximum of three days left with some of my favorite people on the planet. I have so many more goodbyes to say, and really I could go on and on about how saddening it is to me. But, I’ll leave it at this:

Your high school friends may hold a big place in your heart, I know mine sure do. But be open minded to the people that land right in front of you. Odds are, they are there for a reason. The people you meet in college might end up being the bridesmaids in your wedding, your future next door neighbor, the Godparents of your children. It is more than just a friendship because of the school you chose, it is a friendship because of the bond you made. Being unconditionally loved by people you have known for less than a year, going through some of the toughest and greatest highs and lows of your life, too. The people you meet your freshman year of college will somehow be the most important. To my friends I am leaving behind… I love you, and I’ll see you next fall.

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