Embryo buddies, sandbox besties, platonic soul mates, biffles for liffles, whatever you prefer to call it, many people share that special relationship that defies the boundaries of normal friendships. It’s safe to say that friends have a huge influence on each individual student’s high school experience. We join clubs together because let’s face it nobody wants to go through it alone, we compare schedules on the first day of school hoping and praying that they match up class-for-class, we lament in the shared stresses of growing up, and celebrate in moments of success and happiness. But as high school begins to come to a close, paths begin to diverge and choices must be made, choices that often lead to the potential of separation. But this isn’t necessarily Armageddon (Friendmageddon?), and definitely should not be treated as such.
We grew up watching television shows and movies that promised us that once high school was over, best friends would remain together well into college, the strength of the bond inseparable even against the will of reality. (I’m looking at you, Boy Meets World.) As Sophia Richards’ article on grading television portrayals shows us, expectations don’t necessarily match up with reality. Best friends don’t automatically get admitted to the same colleges because admissions are sympathetic to their plight, so hedge your bets, and avoid the allure of these fantasies.
But when it comes to applying to colleges, a friend can influence where another applies to, or vice versa. And while it’s great for friends to help inspire each other, and show them options they never thought of, it can become difficult to distinguish genuine individual interests from shared ones. Sometimes, friends become so similar that it’s hard to tell where one begins and one ends. Though this makes for great harmony, it might just be healthier to limit the conversation on these sorts of topics, so that it don’t subconsciously influence conscious choices. The same goes for choosing a college once admissions decisions are released. Choosing a college based on whether or not a friend is going may seem reasonable, and even exciting, but in reality it’s pretty rash to frame an entire future based on the fear of separation. (No matter what Gossip Girl tries to make you think otherwise.)
Best friends are like security blankets, they are the ultimate piece of comfort and familiarity. But with this security comes dependency, and there are times when it’s necessary to let go, and embrace the uncertainty and freedom of defining an independent personality and future. Being bound by this familiarity is often an impediment to the potential for creating new experiences in college.
Don’t be afraid of the stigma of long distance relationships, they’re not as doomed as cinema makes them out to be. Because the truest BFFs can pick up where they left off even after long periods of time. The occasional care package and Skype session doesn’t hurt either.
If you’re especially stressed out about any impending separation, maybe you’ll take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Studies show that cows are a lot more like people than we thought, they show high levels of stress when farmers separate them from their best friends, producing less milk and increased heart rates. Though fortunately, it isn’t the case for humans, you will survive without your friend. And who knows? Maybe the separation will push you out of your comfort zone and lead you to things that you will love, that you never would have done if your friend was there. College is a time to grow, not to remain exactly as you were in high school.