With the first half of my college career officially over, I’ve already started to get nostalgic. Not only is my sister about to graduate high school and embark on her freshman year, but I will also be assisting at freshman orientation next month. As our group begins to train for the big day, I can’t help but think back two years to my own freshman orientation, where I fell in love with my school and met some of the people who shaped my first two years (for better and for worse).
It’s crazy to think about how much has changed since then. I’m no longer the terrified 18-year-old who dreaded enrolling in college as a Journalism major. Nor am I the girl who avoids the organized socials at all costs. I remember wanting to skip the pool and pizza party that the school put together the night before orientation because I resented not being able to attend a high school friend’s party instead. Ironically enough, I’ve probably only kept in touch with one person who actually attended that party — and now I’m the one hosting parties and events.
Of course, I still have a few close friends from high school (with whom I try very hard to maintain our long-distance friendships!), but the vast majority of my friends these days are people I met in college. I go to a state university, so obviously a lot of people from my high school are enrolled here too, but I don’t mingle with many of them anymore. It’s nothing against them, but I can’t stress enough that a lot of high school relationships are based on convenience — you might not have much in common, but you live somewhat close and sometimes that’s enough. At the university level, you tend to find more people who like the same things you, appreciate your sense of humor and bring their own unique perspectives to the table. Even at the honors freshman orientation, I found that I clicked a lot better with people there than I did with the “AP” crowd in high school.
Overall, I can’t get over just how strong most of my college friendships have been. In high school, a good friend was usually someone you sat with at lunch every day, hung out with on weekends and confided in about the guys you liked. In college, the friendships tend to mature– you find the friends who will drive you to the health center and hospital for your medical emergencies and spend the night making sure you’re okay, the friends who sit up all night with you after you get your heart broken (when they would rather be studying), the friends who will rescue you when you need them most. Some of the situations might be more serious now, but we seem better equipped to help each other out with them. Perhaps because we are all going through them, we are more willing to go to great lengths to support our friends.
I’m not saying that everyone you meet in college is going to be your best friend, or that everyone you knew in high school was a terrible friend, either. However, I do think that as we mature, so do our friendships, and those people we connect with at college can become some of the best friends we have ever had.