One of the biggest changes for freshman year is a new peer group. You may have friends that you’ve been with since the beginning of high school or even longer. Starting college should be exciting but it can also be anxiety-producing as you think about moving on without your friends to support you. As you and your friends head off in different directions, think about ways to stay connected:
- Celebrate your accomplishments!
Graduation is a time to celebrate! Congratulate your friends, maybe exchange gifts, and celebrate each other. It feels good to have accomplished this goal together. Honor your friends and tell them how much they’ve helped you become the person you are today.
- Spend your summer together with meaningful experiences.
Create opportunities to make memories with your friends this summer. As states start to reopen, spending time with friends you haven’t seen in months may take on new significance. Plan some shared time – maybe a trip together, or a regularly scheduled meet up, or try something new. Summer will fly by with work, vacation, internships, or other activities. Prioritize time with your friends.
- Reflect on what you love about your friends and think about new relationships.
There will be many opportunities for you to make new friends in freshman year – from freshman orientation on, opportunities for meeting new people abound. This might be thrilling or terrifying depending on whether you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert. Stay true to yourself. Think about the qualities you love and admire in your high school friends and consider ways to find people with similar qualities. Shared interests (clubs, sports, activities) or common experiences (classes, dorms, pre-college orientations) are great opportunities to bond with new friends.
- Plan a visit.
No doubt, you will enjoy meeting new people freshman year. It can also be fun to share your new place with your old friends. If your high school friends are attending colleges nearby, make plans to visit each other. Depending on what colleges allow for the fall, plan to spend the night together in the dorms, or spend a day together on campus. It can be comforting to see old friends during your freshman year.
Whether you are heading off to college near or far, with lots of old friends from high school or on your own, plan keep in touch with your high school friends. You’ll likely have a chance to get together during college breaks. Make an effort to maintain your friendships from home as you get to know a new group of peers.