May 21, 2013

The Meaning of High School Friendships

There are a lot of directions I can take with this topic, so we could probably call this "Part 1."


My last day of school was Thursday--and let me tell you, it's been one heck of a close. I don't know how naïve this sounds, but I expected to go out the way the kids in that movie High School Musical did: throwing papers, dancing, and singing--having a good time with friends that would always be there with me. Life, however, is a lot more complicated than that. As my friends and I signed each others' yearbooks leaving some sincere, heartfelt notes, there were definitely some mixed emotions.

People have varying ideas of what high school friends are for. I remember sitting with a couple random kids earlier this year during English. One of them said, "To be honest, I don't think I'm ever gonna talk to any of you ever again. For the most part, it'll be like, yeah, it was cool. We had some fun times. But you don't make your real friends 'til college."

To me, it seems like a depressing way to considers one's friends, and my mind was somewhat saddened when I realized that many people believe that high school friendships are just built to be fun for the time-being--temporary. Actually, some people I consider to be very close think that high school relationships are not meant to last and only exist in the now.

I say that it seems depressing to me because I was on the other extreme.

I was determined to keep all of my relationships intact while forging new connections in college. On Thursday after class was over, I talked to my friend Val about staying in touch, referring to my current relationship with Kevin, who was a freshman at Cornell this past year, as sort of a standard.

Kevin had quickly moved on from his time in high school. He'd plunged into a rigorous academic track, registering for 21 credits this last semester. He also joined a project team for engineering, and had a whole new social life to deal with.

As you can probably guess, Kevin didn't have the time to pay attention to everything that happened to me. And my own life had gotten so busy that I still don't really know each detail about Cornell, or even the names of most of his friends. As I scroll through our conversations, most of them are very brief.

But the point of the matter is, we're still here for each other.

When I went through hard times, Kevin knew about them, and offered whatever advice or kindness that he could. And when he was studying for his difficult exams or was stressing out about personal issues, I also did what I could to help.

As I consider my relationship with Kevin, my relationships with my friends from middle school (who I'd say are still some of my absolute best friends), I realize this is true:

So while my friends from high school will be doing many things that I won't be involved in, it's okay. Because I know that I can still count on them when I'm in need, and I'll be there for them whatever they go through.

It's impossible to maintain the friendships the way they are now. However, the experiences in high school aren't meaningless, and neither are the people.

The most important part of your high school friends are the experiences you have together, because these are what help you grow. So the best thing you can do is to thank them for these experiences, and try to keep in touch the way Kevin and I do, the way Val and I will. I've made some valuable friendships these past four years. The best ones are sure to last with a little bit of effort. 

Cherish the memories, and love the people you're with

To end on a cheesy note (so I don't drag on forever), here are the lyrics from this little tune I learned from my Girl Scout years:

Make new friends,
But keep the old;
One is silver and the other's gold.
A circle is round,
It has no end--
That's how long we shall all be friends.

Take care,
-Riley XO

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