Senior year is often touted as a time of celebration. It’s your last year of mandatory education, it’s the time for prom and senioritis, and, if you’re going off to college and living in a dorm, it also may be the last time you’ll be living under your parent’s roof. On the other hand, it also is likely the last time you’ll be with your friends–that is, the friends you’ve had in high school. It might be the last time any of you have classes together, or play in the same band, or walk on the same campus. There is a chance that you and your friends are going to the same university–perhaps even rooming together.
Even so, the shift from high school to college is one in which friends can easily drift away with newfound responsibilities and newfound companions–and that’s not to mention if you and your friends are going to different places across the country. Here are some tips to help you deal with the impending separation.
Make the Most Out of the Time You Have Left
So you only have a few months, or perhaps even a few weeks or days left until one of you gets on a flight to a city halfway across the country. This may seem obvious, but I’m saying it anyway: Don’t waste it. Do the things you and your friends always said you were going to do, but never got around to doing. Start a senior project (some ideas: making a film, programming a game, launching a website or business, or even just resolving to hit the gym together three times a week). Take a senior trip, whether it’s a cruise, a trip to Disney World, or even just a hiking escapade.
It doesn’t even have to be as glamorous as that. There’s nothing wrong with just doing what you normally do throughout the year, be it getting together to marathon Audrey Hepburn movies, playing the newest first-person shooter games, or baking cupcakes. The important thing is that you’re doing it, rather than putting it off.
Make Commitments to Staying in Touch
First of all, find out a way convenient for you and your friends to stay connected. This could be Facebook, or it might be texting, Snapchat, reading updates on each other’s blogs, or calling each other periodically. Then do it. Make resolutions, say them aloud and write them down: “We’ll talk to each other at least once a week.” It’s important to note, however, that these have to be resolutions that both of you can not only agree on, but also prioritize.
And that can be hard. The sad fact is that in college, you’ll probably both be preoccupied with more immediate things–schoolwork, a job or internship, a new position on the basketball team, or the college quiz bowl. Your schedules could be erratic, and you might not know when you’ll be free to talk next. Some people might not be okay with that, but if you can communicate this and make time when you can, you can stay close. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely possible if both of you are determined to keep the relationship.
Realize You Can’t Stay Friends With Everyone
This is where this article gets personal. As a senior who will be leaving pretty much all of her friends when she goes off to college, I honestly have a pretty hard time accepting this. I want to believe that a year from now, I’ll still be on good terms and be able to laugh with the people who sit at my lunch table, or the friends I’ve made in my chemistry class.
I am still hopeful, but I understand that there’s a good chance that I won’t be as close to these people a year from now. There’s a good chance that I’ll have made and shared just as valuable experiences with new friends, and that my old friends will have done the same. There’s a good chance that the person I am when I graduate high school will be different from the person I am when I graduate college, and that the people whom I value will change accordingly. And–this was a shock to me when I first realized it–there’s a good chance that even if I value a relationship with another person, that person might not value their relationship with me enough to put effort into sustaining it. And that’s okay. It’s an idea that causes me grief, but it’s okay.
Going off to college and leaving friends behind can seem scary, but it can also reveal what’s truly important to someone. So I say–go ahead and be sad, but embrace the change.