Surviving Senior Year: Separation Anxiety

On Thursday night I had dinner with a friend. We went to the same college, but she graduated last year, so I haven’t seen as much of her as I used to. But when we finally had the chance to hang out and catch up, it reminded of how much I missed her, how much I missed having her around. It made me stop and think about what would happen next year, after I’ve graduated.

It wouldn’t just be one friend that it would be hard to meet up with, it would be all of my friends.

College isn’t just about the classes. We’re here for four years. We make lives for ourselves. The people we spend our days with, eat lunch with, sit in class with, they become family. And next year that family will be scattered across the country. People move back home. People go to grad school. They make plans and they move on. And that’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s what they are in the process of doing. It’s what I’m in the process of doing.

But sometimes, we put so much emphasis on getting there, that we don’t stop and think about what will happen when we are there.

Relationships of all kinds are about convenience. It’s easy to stay friends with someone when you see them every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:40-11:10. It’s even easier to stay friends with someone when they live down the hall from you, eat dinner with you, take all the same classes as you. These people are a part of your life. They part of my life. Will they still be a year from now, ten years from now?

I know what you’re thinking: you’ll still be friends with the people that really matter. That’s what I’m thinking too. I’ll stay in touch with the people I care about. If both people make an effort, there’s no reason why two friends can’t stay in touch even when they barely see each other. Facebook and Twitter, texting and BBMing, and instant messaging and e-mailing have all made that possible. But think back a few years, back to the last time you graduated. Are you still friends with all those people you were hugging in your high school prom pictures?

I had a big group of friends in high school, but after we graduated, separated, became interested in different things, those friendships changed. I’m still in touch with some of them, but I’ve completely lost touch with others. It’s expected. It makes sense. Still, I can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment every time I think about these people no longer being a part of my everyday life.

These are the friendships I’ll try to preserve. There will be late night phone calls, commenting wars, gatherings that will make up for lost time. We won’t see each other every day – it won’t be like it always was – but we’ll still be friends. I’ll make sure of it. There will be other people, though, that I won’t stay in touch with, and neither will you.  That guy in your psych class? The girl you share notes with in calculus? Those people you see every Dollar Pitcher night at the bar? You may not make plans with them or even have their numbers, but they are still there, in your life, every day.

But they won’t be for much longer

Senior year, I’m realizing, is all about the changes. As I take the necessary steps to make those changes, I can’t help but look back and think, why exactly do things have to change? Why can’t we just stay here forever?

But maybe I’m just being sentimental… or overdramatic. (I’ve been told I have a tendency to do that.) Or maybe it’s PMS?

What do you think, College Candy readers? Are friendships all about convenience? Will I stay in touch with my college friends? Or will my friendships start to dwindle as the distance between us increases? Does it matter?

Freaking out? Not ready to graduate? Let one of our resident post-grad’s give you a little real world (gr)advice.

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