OPINION: Your College Friends Aren’t Always Your Forever Friends

(Photo courtesy of Kayde Hambaum)

We’ve all heard it. Whether it was our mom, our friend’s mom or our friends that have graduated, we’ve all heard that college is the place that you find your forever friends. It’s the place you meet the people who will stand up in your wedding and watch your future kids and relationships grow. We’ve all heard it, but I’m here to tell you that just because that’s what you’ve heard doesn’t mean its going to be true.

Four years ago, I stepped foot on Central Michigan University’s campus with a beaming smile and more nerves than I could handle and awaited meeting my new roommates; the girls I would get to call my forever friends. I pictured movie nights in a cozy dorm room, getting ready together and firing up at tailgates and simply learning the ropes of college with forever friends by my side.

Slowly but surely, all the things I had pictured and wanted started coming true. I loved my roommates. We quickly fell into the norm of being “besties” and spent every waking moment outside of class together. Weekends were for the girls, school nights were for gossip and mornings were for coffee chats and homework rants. Before I knew it I was living the fairytale college life I had always dreamed of; the one everyone said I would.

I was so content with finding my forever friends, until one day it started to change.

Instead of spending my nights cozy in my dorm, I started getting more involved on campus and in RSO’s. Weekends became filled with class projects and mornings with last minute assignments. Slowly, my forever friend routine started shifting, and with that, so did my forever friends.

I was so torn as change started creeping up on us that I began to try harder and harder to keep our friendship the way it started – but the harder I tried, the more distant we became.

I’m telling this story because it took me three years to realize that it’s OK to let go.

College is a place for learning, exploring and growing. The likelihood of stepping onto campus as a freshman and leaving as a senior with the same mindset and outlooks on life is very small. We are going through a stage in our life where we are figuring out our wants, needs and truly finding ourself.

So while we are learning and finding our path, so are the people around us. I was so torn once the friendships I formed at the start of college changed. Everyone told me that the friends I met in the beginning would be the friends for the rest of my life so there was no way I was letting those relationships go. Even in times of disagreement, judgment and bickering, I would push it all aside  because I was terrified of losing them.

For three years, I held on as tight as I could to my forever friends. I held onto a relationship that after a year started losing its purpose all together. I held onto moments of laughter and bliss and let the hurt and betrayal slide. I held onto sharing the start of our college journey together, being each other’s first friends on campus and learning everything there was to know about each other.

For three years I held on. But for what? I started to see the force that held our broken ties together. We didn’t share the same passions, mindsets or beliefs. We started finding the flaws in each other and using them as weapons. We clung to each other in times where there was no one else, we filled the voids. We clung to each other because of the beginning, not wanting to initiate the end.

I’m telling you this story because change is inevitable. People change, seasons change, beliefs change. We are all on a journey of growth and change and although friends may seem perfect in the now, they may not be so perfect in the later. I’m telling you this because its okay to let go. Some people aren’t meant to be forever friends no matter how bad we want them to be. Sometimes we have to hold tight to the memories and let the ties fade away.

People will come and go throughout these four years. Some of us really do find our forever friends within the first year but most of us don’t and thats okay. Don’t be afraid to let relationships go that no longer lift you up and push you forward. Sometimes, it’s the memories that are forever and not the friends. So hold on, hold tight and let go.