This Week, Everyone is Leaving Me!

What no one tells you when you’re growing up is that one day, all your friends are going to leave you.

I’m 22 years old (turning 23 in a week, HINT), and I’m at that point in life where things really start to change. I thought that college was going to be a turning point in my life. To some extent, college was a big change, but overall it was more of the same thing. My friends were still around and we weren’t making any big life decisions. Passing freshmen calculus was my main concern.

Since graduation a switch in the universe definitely got flipped. Actual life choices started being made. Yes, your undergrad is important in the scheme of life, but it’s not nearly as important as the decisions you make after you graduate. You might choose to live with your parents and work for year. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship you might get married. Hell, you might join the Peace Corps and work in another country. These choices will change everything.

Undergrad is a wonderfully sheltered place.

During the year or so after graduation, all of my friends applied for graduate school. They’re all lovely, talented and intelligent people so obviously they were accepted.  I also got into graduate school. And so, like Pangaea, my life started to show some cracks.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m really happy for all my friends! I’m happy for myself too. This is where I’m supposed to be going in life, but man, it is hard to see everyone start to split off from me (yes, I do consider myself the center of the universe).

I already started my graduate program. It’s at the same university where I completed my undergraduate degree. I didn’t have to move, and that’s part of the reason why I chose to stay here. I’m quite happy with my choice. However, my friends are all going to different universities across the nation. I’m talking cross-country moves to New York and New Hampshire.

My point is: I’m sad that they’re leaving me, BUT I’m very happy that they’re going after their dreams. Mostly, I’m happy. I’m also a selfish person though, so I don’t necessarily want them to go.

I’m sure that I’m not the only 20-something year old dealing with their carefully curated world changing drastically. So how do you deal? (Also known as, how I’m going to cope.)

1. You make sure that you find ways to maintain your friendship (Skype, Facebook, etc.).

2. If they’re in town, then make time to hang out with them.

3. Birthday cards!

4. Try to get to know some more people. They’re not going to replace your old friends, but they might make the transition a little easier, and who knows? You might meet someone who is going to be a really good friend to you too!

5. Cry into your pillow at night (just kidding…sort of).

So yes…I’m a little sad that my friends are moving away. I’m really going to miss them. I do, however, realize that there is no way to keep things permanent. It would go against nature. This is just part of life, and I’m going to try to accept that. Even in this situation that, frankly, is depressing, I’m trying to remember that these goodbyes aren’t forever.

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  • Anica Parmar

    Hi Maria,
    Most of us have been there, the uncertainty of the future and the longing for our friends to be there supporting each other. The reality is that we can try (definitely using the ways that you mentioned) to keep in contact, but sometimes you drift apart on different journies.
    I’m at a stage where my friends and I have been going on our seperate routes for a few years, and I have lost some friends (just because we no longer share the same interests), gained some friends (who are pretty amazing!) …and still have some wonderful friends that I call my jewels, as they have been through many life adventures with me!
    The good news is, that you always know who your most valuable friends are, as they will be the ones who will make the effort with you, because they too realise how amazing you are!

  • Freya H Dub

    Oh boy so I understand all of this!! Undergrad is a false sense of adulthood. We’re given freedoms, our own places, no parents and booze. But then we also have classes, grades and reports. So we feel like adults but we’re not completely on our own. Then graduation happens. In my case, I’m the one who up and left. My boyfriend signed with a company across the nation so I move from Oregon to Connecticut in 2011. Then 4 weeks ago, we moved to Toronto. It was a really hard choice, leaving all my friends and family behind. I felt like I had two options, continue living with my mother and holding onto whatever strands of college I had left, or see an amazing opportunity in front of me and take it. It’s still hard but I’m glad I did it.

  • Cristina Moreno

    These are all great suggestions! I moved away during my junior year of high school (only a mile, but it put me in a new school district!), so I started adjusting to the whole not-seeing-my-friends thing early on. When college came, I stayed local-ish, but none of my friends attended my school. One friend moved a few hours away. Two girlfriends moved into NYC. Through it all, we’ve managed to maintain our friendship. Of the three best friends from childhood, I see one maybe once a month. The other two, I see a few times a year. We make it work for us.

    The biggest help was upgrading my texting plan. That way I didn’t have to worry about going over and screwing up my bill. Also, Facebook. Gosh, I hate it, but it’s so helpful..

    I have actually managed to form and maintain lots of really meaningful friendships (outside of my hometown girls) using social media like Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr/Livejournal. It’s really the technology that gets me through. Also, you have to realize that sometimes YOU have to be the person to reach out. Maintaining any relationship takes work and if you have to be willing to put in the effort in order to make it last.

  • Beckie Howson

    I never went to college but I have moved around alot. I’m 32 now and I’ve kept in touch with old friends from school and the past few years we’ve spent a weekend or two a year together. This coming weekend we’re going to stay in yurts for my friends hen do. We might not talk much the rest of the year but having these weekends to reconnect can be enough. It would be nice to see them all more but this will do. None of us have kids yet so i’m sure the dynamic will change again then.

  • Ruth K Varley

    I can totally relate to this article, I’m 24 and have just finished my university degree.
    It sort of feels like the world is really changing, and as we (my friends and myself) are getting older, we’re drifting apart, to careers, marriages and families. But I that despite all the things (mostly life – I guess) that get in the way, I feel confident we’ll always be special to one another.

  • Chelsea Anne

    I can relate to this completely! I just graduated in May and now am beginning to feel like I haven’t accomplished that much. Yes, undergrad was great and it IS an accomplishment, but in a way it didn’t prepare me for what’s next. I’m still figuring that out myself! Great tips for keeping friends, what works for my girlfriends that now live 45 minutes away is we plan a girls night every other week. Sometimes we go out and sometimes we just watch bad television. What works is that we all make the effort to stay in touch.

    • Bekaandthe GinHall Hustlers

      A girls’ night every other week! That is so smart! :) I should try that.

  • Angela Bove

    going through this right now, but with high school friends, some people who i thought were going to be my good friends for years, because they already have been. i came home from school this summer, looking forward to seeing everyone again, and most people were too busy to see me or didn’t even bother making excuses to get out of hanging out. disheartening, because i guess i was the only one who wasn’t ready to move on. but now that i’m a junior in college i’m getting to the point where i actually have more college friends than friends from back home, and look forward to going back more every year.

  • Maria A. Hernandez-Venegas

    Right?! Well, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one. I mean, I figured, but you never really know. I’m definitely going to take your advice on this! It’s so exciting, but also so sad.

  • Katy Littlejohn

    I just finished my first year in Toronto after graduating my undergrad. Now I have a post-grad and a real-life job (“is this going to be forever???”). A lot of the people I considered to be the most precious to me through university have gone global and it’s really shown who’s up for the challenge of keeping the friendship alive. This fall I’m going to the wedding of my best friend from elementary school. We drifted in high school and have lived in different cities/lost contact for years now, but I am thrilled to be included in her day – it goes to show that genuine relationships will last even if they go through long separations, which is just about the most comforting thought I can offer.

  • Priscilla Ontiveros

    I feel exactly the same way. I recently graduated in May and I am taking a couple years off before going back to grad school. For me, it’s a little scary not to have every detail planned out and with my friends either in grad school or off and about working at new jobs sometimes it feel like my whole world has been flipped upside down. The one thing that really comforts me about my friend “leaving me” is that I know they all care and will work just as hard as I will to maintain our friendships. It also helps to remember that soon enough I will have a steady job and will be able to pay to go visit them so I can actually hug them instead of sending virtual hugs through the internet or the phone.

    • Bekaandthe GinHall Hustlers

      Yes, working new jobs… everyone is working so hard after school, and it is a challenge to keep up friendships… I hear you…

  • Bekaandthe GinHall Hustlers

    One of my closest friends is a girl I was more of an acquaintance with in high school, who became my college roommate on a whim. We ended up having a lot in common, and have stayed in touch through cross-country moves, babies, jobs, etc. Other friendships have drifted apart, but that one has lasted. It does take effort to keep up friendships, but just a few minutes here & there on the internet helps. The big thing is if the friend has an open mind to keeping in touch across the miles. I wish more of my old pals did, but one true & lasting good friend is worth gold <3 :) One goal this year, I'd like to host some dinners & make an effort … I've been guilty of over-work and not making the effort to meet new people … chasing the dollar … hmm… life/work balance… so maybe sign up for some classes or have more new people over for dinner :) LIVE a little more? :)

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