My mom would always tell me, “You make your real, lifelong friends in college.” Yet here I am, beginning my second semester of freshman year, and still nada. I think previous generations have always made their lifelong friends in college because of their lack of digital communication. You couldn’t exactly keep up a friendship with high school friends over a phone call on a gross payphone every other week.
In an age with countless ways to stay in touch, your high school friends may last longer than your parents thought.
In high school I made five really close friends that I still consider my best friends. They understand my sense of humor. They know my secrets and my failures. They’ve shared my happiest and saddest moments.
When adults told me that I would make my “real” friends in college, I didn’t want to. Contrary to popular belief, I actually like my high school friends. Some of them have been my friends since the first grade. During the summer before college all I could think about was how much I didn’t want to make new friends.
A semester into my freshman year, I can tell you that I’ve made new friends, good friends. I don’t know if I’d consider them my “real” friends; I’ve only known them for four months, but they’re cool people. What about my high school friends? We just had a sleep over and picked up right where we left off four months ago. We’ve been able to stay in contact on an almost daily basis, whether it’s a “How’s college?” text, or a “Happy birthday!” message on Facebook.
This is a relatively new path for college-aged millennials, as previous generations were stuck jamming quarters into a grimy, finger-smudged payphone that everyone in the residence hall had coughed on and spit into. Somehow, they were expected to carry on meaningful conversations while also avoiding the accumulation of gunk on the phone that was inches away from their face.
Friendships would fade from one call a week to one call a semester, and before they knew it, their real friends were the ones they made in college. Distance would be the deciding factor in whether high school friends became lifelong friends–until the dawn of websites like classmates.com and Facebook. Suddenly, years after high school and college were over, friends were finally able to reconnect.
The only difference for us is that we never disconnected. Social media, texting and personal cell phones have allowed this generation to become (and stay) more connected than ever. The norm of making your real friends in college has been dismantled by an ever-growing system of communication.
I found myself extremely worried about making friends in college, and more worried about them replacing my best friends. If you’re worried that you’re not making meaningful and deep connections with people you just met, don’t fret. You don’t have to leave your high school friends in the past just to reconnect with them in 10 years. My friends and I have a groupchat where we give little updates on our lives–we’re so connected that we hardly even need other people.
But that isn’t an excuse to isolate yourself, either. Definitely try to make friends in college. I still try to be social, despite my fear of replacing my good friends; I go out and manage to spend time with my new college friends. It’s important to be friendly and outgoing, because you never know who you might meet. He or she could very well be your next lifelong friend; or they could just be some person you hung out with that one time. You’ll never know if you don’t try.