OP: Changing friends is normal while in college

26 February 2019

Taylor Burnfield

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    As college students, it is a given that we will not be the same person we were entering college as we will be once we graduate.

    It is generally expected of us that we will learn new things, change our belief systems, have new experiences, date different people and change our major once (or maybe a few times).

    However, one aspect of college life that I feel is rarely discussed is the major shifts that college students experience within their friend groups. Often times, the group of friends that you made freshman year may not be the same friends you hang out with once you become a senior.

    The ending of a friendship can sometimes be just as painful and traumatic as a romantic breakup. Yet, friendship “breakups” are seldom mentioned and many college students, myself included, can sometimes feel like failures if our friendships don’t always pan out how we thought they would. However, it does not have to be this way.

   According to npr.org, the human brain does not reach full maturity until age 25. It makes sense that college students, who are usually in their late teens or early twenties, would experiment with different friend groups throughout their time in college.

    The friends that we lose while in college may also be friends that we met in high school or even middle or elementary school. It can be hard to keep those friendships, especially if you and your childhood friends live in different states.

    I grew up in Texas and moved to Colorado about a year ago. I had hoped that I would be able to maintain my childhood friendships, but I have learned that this is not always a realistic expectation.

    Sometimes the only thing you have in common with childhood friends is the hometown you grew up in. Many friends that I know from back home decided to forgo college. Instead, their lives revolve around marriage or children. It can be hard to keep a friendship ongoing when you cannot relate to them.

    I believe that college is the best time to grow and mature as a person, and so it is important to not become too attached to who you think you are supposed to be or who you think you are supposed to hang out with.

    If a friendship is not working for you, then don’t feel obligated to dedicate your time and energy to it . Move on and find friends that share your same visions and goals.

    Just because a friendship did not last forever does not mean that it was a failure. It is important to cherish the good memories you had with someone just as it is important to recognize when it is time to let go.

    According to psychcentral.com, there is an old saying that people enter our lives either for a reason, a season or a lifetime. A true sign of maturity is being able to recognize when a friendship is truly over and accepting people for who they are, instead of trying to force them into being who we think they should be.