I am a freshman here at Duquesne University, meaning that, a little over 5 months ago, I left everything comfortable and familiar in my life for the first time. Among the many worries flooding my mind upon arrival were dealing with new classes, making new friends, and—holding on to those I left behind.
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced the inevitable “drifting” that occurs between friends as they begin a new chapter of their lives, whether it be moving, transferring schools, or simply acquiring new interests. It can be hard to set aside time to contact the people you used to see every day, the people that you now only see about three months a year.
Just think about it: you used to share the same friend group, the same daily experiences, the same teachers—and now you’re miles away, with a handful of new friends whom your old friends know absolutely nothing about. So much happens in a single day that it becomes impossible to keep your home friends updated like you used to. Bringing up old inside jokes becomes the only way to feel connected to one another as the number of face-to-face gatherings diminishes. Suddenly, the people who always used to come to mind when someone mentioned the words “best friends” are running around with their new companions, leaving you feeling forgotten. In addition to the anxiety generated by living in a new area, you now have to worry about losing the people that made high school a blast (or maybe just tolerable).
The motivation behind writing this post was simply to remind anyone going through the “drift” that this is all normal. People are constantly drifting apart and reconvening, and the scarcity of face-to-face meetings and lunch dates only makes the time you do spend with your loved ones from home that much more valuable.
Another key idea to remember is that your friends from home could be feeling the same way you do: anxious about growing apart. So reach out, and remind them of why they became friends with you in the first place. Send them a text every once in a while, Skype or Facetime with them, or simply tag them in an Instagram or Facebook post that brings them to mind. Even writing letters is a fun and creative way to show someone that you’re thinking of them while you’re miles, even states, away.
Instead of panicking over losing your buddies at home, enjoy making new friends during your time at school, and know that those worth holding onto will always be there when you hop on the next bus back to your hometown.