Nothing lasts forever, and as I’m sure many of you have experienced by now, that includes the relationships you have with your closest friends. It’s a fact of nature we like to ignore and that catches us by surprise every time it happens, but rare is the case where a best friend forever is actually forever. We’ve likely already experienced this. We all had a friend in elementary school or middle school we swore we would ride or die with forever, only to drop communication sometime in junior high or high school.
We imagine our college friends are going to be different, and there’s some good reason for believing that. College is a pretty scary adjustment for almost everybody. That’s why we build fast and strong bonds as soon as we can. Whether these relationships were founded as roommates, classmates, club members or friends of friends, we’ve held onto those friendships closely and revered them as pillars of our everyday life. Surely a friendship like this is built to last forever.
Well it’s not. Deep down we all know it’s not. We try to hold on to the illusion of an everlasting friendship with these people because we’re friends with them now, and why wouldn’t we stay friends after we graduate? It’s not exactly going to help the relationship to be cynical about it and to go into every relationship with the doom and gloom mentality that one day it’s going to end. The moral of the story is not to say you should become a hermit and drop all of your friends, but to remember in college, it’s important to put yourself first and to thoughtfully gauge the sacrifices you make for them during your time in higher education.
I’m sure we’ve all made sacrifices for a friend since coming to college. We skipped a class to hang out with them, we paid for their lunch, etc. Sacrifices are inherent in relationships, maybe even required for one to survive, but when these sacrifices get in the way of lifestyle or education, they become a problem. This isn’t necessarily restricted to college friends, this could be with old friends, friends in the future or even family members. It is important to ask yourself before making these sacrifices, if it is worth it in the long run. Sure, you’re willing to miss your writing class to grab lunch a couple of times, but are you willing to retake that class because you spent too much time away from it?
We take a lot of pride in how good of a friend we can be to those we love, but you have to remember to put choices like this in the context of your in the future. Think of it this way, if given the choice to make a sacrifice for your friend in exchange for your education, will saying “no” affect how they view you as a friend after graduation? Will you look back at your decision in hindsight and regret it, wondering why you wasted opportunities for somebody you lost contact with because they moved across the country for their own opportunities?
It should be emphasized this is not an article telling you to blow off the friends you’ve made here at university, because the friendship may not carry on after graduation and they run the risk of distracting you from your goals. The friends you make are important, they mold you into the person you’ll become and they should support you in reaching your goals if they love you like you love them. That’s why it’s important to put your education first and not make unnecessary sacrifices for them, because if they’re good friends they will understand.
Here’s to the prolonged life of the relationships we’ve made and will continue to make at school. It’s important to remember losing these relationships down the line shouldn’t be a sad premonition. The experiences and support they give us now and that we give in return, will be cherished in memories and reminiscence. As some of us graduate and make the next big adjustment in life, remember to go forward and not look behind you to keep a life that you have for one that could be better.