Leaving school is hard. The people you’ve been surrounded by for anywhere between the last 16 years of your life are now not in this new season you’re starting! But the myth everyone tells you about how you lose friends as you move through different stages of life doesn’t have to be true if you don’t want it to be. If you’re nervous about losing friendships, there are a few simple things you can do to make the odds more likely of retaining them through college.
For me, friendships have blossomed this year. I’ve gained amazing college friends and am continuing to do so, I’ve kept varying levels of contact with school friends and become even closer to unexpected people. Yes, I have lost friends, but realistically some of that I was expecting, so it’s not something to be sad about. It might be a cliché, but as they say there are three types of friends in life: friends for reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime.
Planning is key when it comes to keeping in contact with friends, making time for each other. Planning regular trips, meet ups and events is going to keep you close. It’s all about give and take – you each have to make time for each other. With my friends we plan lunch dates, shopping trips, picnics, holidays (girls’ trip 2018!) and parties to keep the group close!
Social media is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping in contact (I actually don’t know what people did before mobile phones were invented!). If I’ve got a 250 day snapchat streak with you, we’re staying friends whether you like it or not. With the aid of group chats (several), snapchat and almost daily FaceTime calls it barely even feels like I’ve left them all at 6th form!
My school friends and I are currently planning a girl’s holiday for 2018. We now spend most of our time arguing about self-catering vs all-inclusive, Greece vs Portugal and various other holiday disputes. However, as a group it’s given us all something to look forward to and plan together, collectively spending much more than the average amount of time on the Thomas Cook website. I also went camping with a group of them in the summer, which, apart from our tent trying to blow away, was also such a good experience.
Inclusion is a sensitive topic after leaving school. It can be hard and sometimes hurtful if only a very small number of your friends left school to go to college. It can feel like you’re the odd one out and everything is carrying on without you. Because I don’t go to 6th form I haven’t always been invited to everything, but the thing is that’s ok! With a busy life full of new college friendships and old school friends, you’re living the best of both worlds. So if it’s bothering you just talk to your friends – I’m sure they will understand if you feel left out. But chances are, if you’re still friends with a few people at school they will invite you to most things anyway, so there’s no need to stress over it!
My school friends at a party this summer.
Birthdays are good milestones to remind you to meet up with friends when you’re busy. If you’ve spent the last 5 years celebrating each other’s birthdays it’s unlikely that’s going to change just because you’ve gone to college! So even a simple birthday message or card through the letter box is a simple reminder when life gets busy. Some of my best memories with friends over the last year have been on my birthday when we have all made an effort to meet up and do something special.
A few of my school friends celebrating my birthday!
Lastly, friendship, like any relationship, takes hard work and a bit of effort. Don’t expect to stay friends with everyone without even dropping a text or showing up to a single party. Staying friends with everyone is hard, and the truth is you probably won’t, but make that effort to retain those special friendships because that, at least, can definitely be done!