One of the biggest challenges of starting college is leaving your bubble of besties from secondary school and making new friends.
You might be in a different college or in a different course to them. This means that making new friends is inevitable. But then comes the struggle of balancing new friends with your long-time friends from school.
Here’s how to maintain your secondary school friendships in college…
You’ll Probably Find That You’ll Be Closer Than Ever With Your Secondary Schools For The Next While
College brings a lot of change, so of course you’re going to be leaning on your school friends for support over the next few weeks and months.
You’ll probably find that your phone has never been busier with your friends checking in to see how you’re getting on and filling you in on how they’re finding college as well. Make sure that you take the time to check in with them too. The most important thing when maintaining friendships is that everyone does the same heavy lifting to keep the friendship going.
New Friends Will Start To Creep In…And that’s Okay
My personal experience was that I met my friend from secondary school every weekend at home for the first college term in my First Year. She was in Cork and I was in Dublin, but we would meet up every Saturday for tea and chats. That started to change after Christmas in Fist Year; we had settled into college and we didn’t need the constant moral support. You’ll probably find that this happens too, and it’s natural. We both had made our own new friends in college and had started to stay in college a few weekends instead of making the trek home to Wexford. We’re still friends to this day, so it’s all good!
Make Time For All Your Friends
If you’re away from home for college it might feel like you’re living two different lives with a whole different set of friends who never collide. Make sure that you make time for all your friendship groups.
You mightn’t always be able to give everyone the same amount of time all the time, and that’s ok. You’re about to get really busy with college but if you notice that you haven’t seen a lot of a particular friend in a while reach out to them and organise to meet up.
Accept That You All Have New Friends
Seeing pictures on social media of your besties having a great time with new friends can feel like a stab in the heart, but it is completely normal to have different friend groups. In fact, you will keep making more new friend groups as you go through life.
Don’t be jealous of your friends making new friends. It’s not that they prefer anyone else or that you’ll be forgotten about. You need new college friends and they need new college friends. And it’s not good to expect a monopoly on someone. Be happy that your friend is getting on well in college and getting to know people.
Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself For Everything To Be The Same
As I said above, it might be a few months down the line before you start to notice a shift in your friendships from secondary school; don’t freak out when it happens.
We all grow and change as we go through life. It’s also normal to drift a bit from friends. Going from seeing a person all day everyday in secondary school to being in different counties, collages, courses or classes can feel like you’re suddenly missing an arm.
Just keep in contact with each other and don’t put pressure on yourself for everything to be how it was.
One of the things that I’ve learned about friendship is that my best friends are the ones I don’t see all the time, but once we get back together its like we’ve never been apart and we fall into where we last left off.
Don’t Hold Yourself Back
Just like dealing with your friends being in a different secondary school, college separation can be a lot to deal with on top of everything else currently going on.
There can be a tendency to dig your heels in and resist change; this just holds you back from making new friends.
Another thing that will hold you back is thinking that life would be so much easier if you were all still together; spoiler but the grass isn’t always greener.
Case in point: I was in a very small college course and two girls arrived in it as longtime best friends. They had fallen out before Halloween rolled around in First Year and they never made up. It made for a very awkward experience for the rest of us in the course for the next 3 years. It’s good to have different friend groups.
Sometime You Have To Let People Go
God that sounds so dramatic…but sometimes in life you have to accept that people change and being friends the way you were before just isn’t going to happen anymore. There doesn’t have to be drama about it.
If you feel like you are drifting from a friend reach out to them and tell them that you miss them. See if you can save the friendship, but if you feel like you just dont have the same connection anymore or you’re the one constantly trying to keep things going, it might be time for a friendship breakup.