Leaving Friends Behind

 COLLEGE BOUND Senior Rebecca Walker will be leaving all of her high school friends behind when she attends Marquette University next year. Walker says, “I’m going to use Snapchat a lot while in college in order to stay in contact with my friends.”

Devin Tykodi

COLLEGE BOUND Senior Rebecca Walker will be leaving all of her high school friends behind when she attends Marquette University next year. Walker says, “I’m going to use Snapchat a lot while in college in order to stay in contact with my friends.”

Devin Tykodi, Staff Writer

“It will be interesting to see who my real friends are.”

— Senior Sydney Merrin

My eyes drift open to the sun’s scorching rays which pour through the cracked dusty windows. The light is initially blinding as my eyes adjust from a state of deep slumber to being awake. The ubiquitous humidity within my bedroom results in beads of sweat to flow down my forehead.  I jump from my bed and prepare for the car ride to my college. When we arrive, I step out of my parent’s Ford and onto the foreign pavement. The campus facing me is swimming with college students that are all in the same boat as me. I smile knowing that I have made my parents proud and independence is right around the corner.

College introduces students to new relationships and experiences. Despite, these positives one of the most difficult challenges of leaving for college is leaving your old high school friends. Starting college is like becoming part of a new community where everyone is a stranger. As student’s friend groups change and they become focused on their major, it is easy to lose friends from high school. Senior Sydney Merrin says, “It will be interesting to see who my real friends are. What I mean by that is the ones that want to stay in my life in and the other ones that go their own ways.” College is all about growing as a person and it can facilitate your growth by showing the value of true friends. Overall, it is an exciting time filled many new opportunities.  IHS students are excited for college and also have many strategies in mind to stay in contact with their old high school friends.

IHS students are generally excited for college. Senior Rebecca Walker who will be attending Marquette University says, “I’m very excited for college because of all the new people and starting on my major.” Senior Avery Tan echoes Walker when he says, “I’m super excited for college to meet new people.” College is essentially a small city depending on the type of you school you attend. For instance, state schools tend to have a higher student population whereas some private universities can have very small student populations. Nonetheless, attending college exposes one to a multitude of new faces. In addition to the new faces, college allows people to pursue their passions in a more professional setting. Merrin says, “I’ve always been passionate about nursing and helping others. I’m so excited to be pursuing nursing at Endicott College in Boston next year.” In high school students are expected to explore various traditional subjects and in college students are able to hone in on their unique passion via their major. Senior Grace Anfinson says, “I’m excited for Greek life in college.” Greek life offers a unique social experience. While it has its obvious flaws, particularly hazing and being distracting, it can have significant benefits. According to USA Today College, college graduation rates are 20 percent higher for students in Greek life. While hazing, partying, and dinking are negative stigmas associated with fraternities and sororities it is important to not let this undermine all that they do. Many times they organize fundraisers and philanthropic events that positively impact their community or campus.

IHS students have accepted the fact that their friend groups will forever change when they enter college. However, change is not necessarily a bad thing. Many students growing up fear change and the prospect of becoming older, but in the case of college, it can be a very positive. It can be very good to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with independence. Senior Reya Sytsma says, “Before me and my friends go on our separate ways for college we’re going to have a senior trip. My two best friends and I are going to go to Hawaii for a week or so this summer. While it will be very fun and relaxing it will also be sad because it will most likely settle in there that I will no longer get to see these amazing people every day.” For some students, leaving relationships that have been forged for many years can be difficult. However, one should understand that this is merely part of the cycle of life as nothing is forever. Essentially, relationships are ephemeral.  Tan, who is also going on a senior trip with his friends this summer, says, “This summer some of my good friends and I are going on a road trip with no particular destination. It should be really fun and a good memory before college starts.” Many IHS students are going on senior trips to essentially go out on good note with their friends and create one more memorable memory before the start of college.

IHS students have very memorable memories from high school. For instance, Merrin says, “The memories with my friends that I will miss most are all the football games and audition choir. It makes me sad just thinking about this.” Sytsma adds, “I’m going to miss all the sporting events and dances. They were very fun.” Over the last four years students have made special memories in their friends. Instead of viewing high school as the end of the road view it as the beginning of a new opportunity where you will make new lifelong friends and as a result new memories.

There are many ways to stay in contact with your high school friends. One of the most popular ways is through social media. Anfinson says, “I will 100% use Snapchat to stay in contact with my friends. I think social media is a great way to stay in contact.” The importance of social media is only truly realized for some students when they leave for college. While in high school it may have been regarded as a waste of time or distraction, social media acts as a tremendous tool in college. Walker echoes this when she says, “My social media usage specifically Snapchat will for sure increase when I’m in college because I’m determined to maintain all the great relationships I made in college.” There are four primary social media sites used by students: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. Interestingly, Anfinson and Walker listed Snapchat for staying in touch with their friends instead of the other social media sites. Outside of staying in touch with your friends social media has other benefits in college. According to Edudemic, social media offers students the benefits of connections, web engagement, knowledge, and social media and marketing in college. Many people ultimately get their job through connections that they have established and some social media sites were designed solely for the purpose of communal connections. Thus, social media can be the vehicle to getting a desired job or internship. Also, social media prepares students to become great marketers.  As technology advances, so does the way the world works with it. Members of the young workforce are keeping up to speed with the many forms of social media thereby making them attractive hires.

One of the toughest decisions you may face as a high school senior is whether to attend an in-state or an out-of-state college.  For students that are staying locally it may be easier to stay in contact with old high school friends than students that are going out of state. Tan says, “I’m going to Hawaii for college and not many other students if any at all are going there so it is going to be a real challenge to maintain my high school relationships. Definitely more so if I would’ve stayed in state.” While Tan is certainly right, there are some perks to going out of state than remaining in-state. According to Unigo, students who attend school away from home tend to be more independent since they presumably no longer have their high school buddies around and their living in a different state. On the other hand, the advantage of going to college in state is that it is cheaper and you would likely be attending with a lot of your high school classmates. At the University of Florida, for example, in-state students pay $18,451 a year compared to the out-of-state tuition rate of $38,591. That’s a savings of more than $20,000! Students who stay in-state can also save on living expenses and travel expenses. By living at home, the average student can expect to save around $10,000 a year in dorm fees. If money is a significant factor in the college decision process it would be wise to consider in-state schools. It is important to note that some private schools also offer financial aid. However, it likely would not be nearly as much as an in-state school would offer.