A Fresh Chance to Forge Friendships
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 00:10
Four months ago, I was certain of three things in my life. The first was that I was to graduate from high school in a week. The second was that two months after that, I would start my freshman year of college. The third was that these two things put me on top of the world.
Sure, that escalated quickly, but for good reason. Put it this way: Strictly speaking, senior year of high school was a nightmare. That one boring class I couldn’t afford to skip anymore was, of course, down a dark, creepy hallway. For all seniors, the looming deadlines to complete a painfully optimistic list of college applications were the knife-wielding clowns tearing at our heels. This torture went on for months until suddenly, I hit June, and finally all of that studying, nail-biting and acceptance — or rejection — letter-reading finally ended. Eventually, in our blissful senior-year merriment, we all began rotating phrases among friends like “Keep in touch!” “Promise we’ll visit each other?” and the ever popular “Skype me!”
That’s all anyone talks about in that surreal week leading up to high school graduation: staying in touch. Maintaining relationships with fewer than 50 people from high school without knowing, or perhaps refusing to acknowledge, the struggle of such an undertaking was, and is, a daunting task.
And now, it’s been more than a month since the start of college. For us freshmen, those cringe-worthy icebreakers at New Student Orientation are hopefully no longer haunting our dreams, the first day of class is ancient history and even our first midterms lie comfortably under our belt. Most of us have been admitted to a few student organizations and have gone to some parties. And every time you go on Facebook, you see those 50 friends you haven’t spoken to since June doing more or less the same exact thing. They seem happy. They look like they’re having fun.
And hopefully, so are you.
Four months have passed since you wrote things like “Have a great time at college!” or “Visit me!” in their yearbooks. And now you know as much about their lives as what they post on the Internet — not much else.
I’ve come to realize that that’s okay. What I’ve already learned on the Hilltop is that there is so much thrown at you once early September of your freshman year passes and school really begins to pick up its pace that you really can’t help but let a few things — or even people — go. The ones who wish you happy birthday on Facebook and every so often like a few of your statuses? High-school acquaintances who, you now see with sharper eyes, you stuck with because it was convenient.
But those friends who call and text you regularly, make plans to video chat with you and perhaps even come out to visit you? Those are the ones worth keeping. They’re the ones who would have been friends with you even without the forced proximity of high school. And it’s OK to choose them over others, because — awkward as you may still feel in your freshman year of college — high school is over. It’s a stage of life that you can certainly find pleasure reflecting on, but it’s not one you can keep living.
In less than a year from now, I’ll be a sophomore at Georgetown. I’ll have new best friends, new classmates and new acquaintances. And though I’ll have kept a handful of old friends I still know and love, that other group of individuals I “went to high school with” will be even more distant than they are already becoming. And of course that makes me sad.
These people, however remote they may be now, had all been my friends at some point. But some people, even friends, come and go in our lives and there isn’t much we can do about it. To the Class of 2017, we have a different life on the Hilltop: foreign, transient, awkward and worlds away from the places we left behind in June.
But it’s our life now, with its own set of fears, pleasures and rewards and the only right way to experience it is to embrace its pros and cons wholeheartedly, and hang on for the ride.
Jinwoo Chong is a freshman in the College.