Keep your web of friends intact

By Lucas Oswald, Columnist

It can become incredibly difficult to keep in touch with your friends from high school while in college, especially if those friends go to school somewhere else. It takes a lot of work to maintain and strengthen friendships, even more so with the added obstacle of distance.

You can begin to feel like a spider, wrapping webs around those you love as they pull against you. You have to constantly provide maintenance to the threads to ensure their strength and durability. If you aren’t constantly vigilant, one will slip away.

Given how hectic our lives are in college, it’s important to keep ourselves grounded and connected to home through our high school friends. After these four years end, you can go anywhere, and you may regret not having your high school friends by your side as your journey continues.

Most of our journeys start the same way.

Imagine it’s the summer after high school graduation. Excitement, hope and bonfire smoke fill the evening air. It’s the last night that all of your friends will be together before everyone leaves. Each of you will be heading to a different part of the country to start your separate journeys to the end of adolescence, but you try not think about that. You try to just enjoy the night and make the most of the time you have left with them.

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    Everyone is careful to avoid the subject of departing, not wishing to spoil the night. When the time finally comes, heartfelt goodbyes are exchanged amidst much hugging and a few tears, and you all promise to stay in touch.

    You spend an extra minute hugging your best friend, the one who’s been at your side for more than a decade. You’ve experienced every major change together and they have been there for you all these years, but now, your paths diverge.

    The next day, you leave, eager to begin your new life, but already missing your old one.

    The first few days are hectic: a frenzy of new people and crazy roommates, a jumble of freshman orientations. You still manage to call and text your friends every day, exchanging tales of the new people you’ve met and news of the clubs you’re going to be a part of.

    Soon, things start to pick up, and suddenly, you have mounds of coursework. You call your friends, but you can only talk briefly; the calculus homework is due in an hour and you have yet to start it.

    As the semester goes on, those short conversations become shorter and less frequent. Suddenly, you’ve gone two whole weeks without talking to any of your high school friends. Realizing this, you make a quick call to your bestie. They pick up but say immediately that they can’t talk long because they’re going to a party.

    In a blur of lectures, social events and homework, a month goes by without a word from any of your friends. Soon, one month turns into two, and then one day, you lose your Snapchat streak with your high school bestie. With that, you realize that your promise to stay in touch has been broken.

    All too often, promises to stay in touch fall flat and old friendships start to fade. Don’t let your promise add to the pile of failed ones.

    Texting and Snapchatting are great, but they cannot hold a friendship together by themselves. Take the time to have an actual conversation with your high school friends. Call them. Video chat with them. Visit them. Even write them a letter. If you don’t talk to them, they aren’t your friends.

    As college students, we all lead busy lives, but squeezing in a fifteen-minute phone call once a week, or even once a month, is worth the time. Good friends are rare in this world, so when you find them, you’d better keep them.

    A true friend is someone who you can always vent to about situations that frustrate you. When the going gets tough and the road is beaten, they’re there to help you spot the potholes. They’re there to pick you up when you fall, and they’ll carry you long after you can no longer walk.

    A true friend is someone who knows you better than you know yourself. They will tell you hard truths and will set you on the right path. They are compass points on your life’s journey; your guides to life. You cannot afford to lose guides who know you so well.

    All of us could take a minute to step away from our own lives and worries to inquire about the lives and worries of our friends, myself included. I will continue to try and hang on to my high school friends, and I challenge you to do the same.    

    Lucas is a sophomore in Engineering.

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