For the In-College or College-Bound
Maybe the time has gone, the faces, I recall. But things in this life change very slowly, if they ever change at all….The scary part being that we’ve all been hit with change lately, and it doesn’t seem to have come slowly at all. Do you remember the day you left home? I’m sure that you do. But I’ll bet that what you remember even more clearly were the days in the week before you left. You know……the days that you spent getting addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses and trying to figure out how to say good-bye to everyone that you’ve loved for as long as you could remember.
Do you remember standing by your best friend’s car one night, after midnight, trying to sum up the meaning of a friendship you’d managed to maintain through thick and thin for years? Do you remember how hard that was, to think of how to say good-bye to that one person? It was nearly impossible, wasn’t it, to give them that one last hug and turn around and walk inside?
I’ll bet the part of what you remember was the night before you left, kissing your boyfriend or girlfriend good-bye one last time. Just knowing that you’d have to turn around and walk back inside was almost motivation enough not to leave. Stepping back to take one last look at that person you love–it’s really scary. And you go and you tell yourself that you won’t ever find someone new. You won’t ever replace your old friends. You’ll never falling in love again.
It’s really crazy,what kinds of things can happen when you don’t mean for them to. You get to a new place full of strangers. You meet people who forget you. You forget people who you meet. But sometimes, you come across some extra ordinarily special people. They have tears to shed, too. They also left people that they love behind. They’re still in love with that guy or girl back home where they used to live, and they all want someone to talk to. So you talk. Talk is good. You form bonds you never thought you’d form. You call your old friends and tell them about the new ones. Sometimes, they don’t understand. Sometimes, you hurt their feelings. Sometimes everyone is a bit jealous. You miss your boyfriend. Or your girlfriend.
One day you’re sitting in the park, thinking about all that stuff you didn’t want to leave, and a stranger sits down near you. Sometimes that person stays a stranger. Other times you talk to him or her. Sometimes you experience things you didn’t want to ever happen. You become interested in a person that isn’t your boyfriend or girlfriend at home. Sometimes college is really complicated.
Sometimes you stay together, other times you break up. Sometimes you think you’ve done the wrong thing by coming so far away from home. And sometimes when you start thinking like this, it’s time to make a change. So when this happens, you sit down and turn on your stereo, and that song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” from the Armageddon soundtrack is on, or The Eagles “Sad Cafe” song, and you wonder if you can still recall all the faces from your past. So, you pick up the phone and you call them all just to say, “Hi, I love you, I’m thinking about you.” And then just as an after thought you say, “You know, I’m really learning a lot from college. I wish you would visit all of my friends. They would love you. And you would love them. They’re very important to me.”
Because, after all this is college. And college is a growing experience. Growing experiences cause change is hard. But whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
So call your parents. Call your siblings. Call your best friend. Or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or even your ex, if that’s how it worked out. Tell them hello. Tell them that you miss and love them. And then, turn off your stereo, walk out of your dorm room. Go to a new friend’s room and give them a big hug and say, “Thanks so much for being here. I love you.”
You learn a lot when you go to college. You learn that pulling an all-nighter means staying up all night to study for a test you will then sleep through. You learn to appreciate the taste of beer-the cheapest of all alcoholic beverages. You learn that you can roll out of bed 10 minutes before class and go to class looking like shit-and no one will notice or care. You learn youreally can do things for yourself without your parents looking over your shoulder–but you also learn you never realized how nice it was to have them there, just in case. More than anything, however, you learn how much your friends really mean to you. College friends come to mean a lot to you, but they can never compare your friends from home. Your friends from home teach you the meaning of friendship during your college years. Because you are apart from them you tend to express your feelings more — you learn how much these people truly affect your life.
You’ve got your best friend who exemplifies friendship-she calls at least once a week, sends email every day, and even sends you real mail. You feel like you never left each other…she still knows everything about you, and even over the Internet can tell when something is wrong. She teaches you that distance doesn’t have to change a friendship at all. Then there is your other best friend. She rarely calls or writes and she doesn’t do the email thing. At times you think she has forgotten about you…until you hear from her. You hear from her for the first time in almost two months-and nothing has changed. You are still you and she is still her –even though you never talk you are as close as ever, you are still the best of friends. You find yourself expressing to her just how much she means to you — because you realize it now more than ever. She teaches you that true friends are friends in the soul…separation can tear them apart.
Then there are those friends that you sort of lost touch with those last few months of high school and during the summer. You were busy, they were busy…but somehow, the magic of email has brought you closer together than you ever were in four years at the same school. You share secrets, heartache, and joy…it’s another person who cares about you as long as you will care about them too. Away from all the pettiness of high school, you’ve finally formed an adult relationship…and you realize just how great a friend this person is suddenly, the people that you thought for sure you would lose touch with in college are the ones you’re keepin closest contact with–and you miss them more than you ever thought possible. Sadly enough, there are also the friends that you were closest to in high school who drift too far for you to hold onto. You’ve both changed and suddenly you don’t have much to say to each other. But these people teach you a lesson too they make you value the others, the ones you have stayed close to, that much more. These distant friends, though you miss them when you rarely think of them, show you who your forever friends really are-and they make you appreciate those forevers much more than before.
College is rough. College severs some bonds and solidifies others…it puts a distance between you and the ones you love. But it teaches you so much. It forces your real friends to come to the front, while the rest take their places in the shadows of your memories. In college you lose some people — but through real friendship and the strength of the soul (which is where real friends join as one) you keep the ones you will need most in your life. You learn the real meaning of the quote: “If you press me to say why we were friends, I can say no more than it was because she was she and I was I.” The people who fit that mold are your forever friends.
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