What’s the difference between high school friends vs. college friends? With high school memories still fresh in your mind, it may seem that you’ll never give up your childhood friends for new friends in college. But college friends can be a real gift.
Find out why your college friends are significantly better than your high school friends, and why they’ll be the ones that stick with you in the long run.
How College Friends Are Different Than High School Friends
1. They’re always in the loop
Even though you try to update your high school friends about your life, it’s not the same as telling your college friends about the events of your day as they’re happening. It may be nice to recount the funny story that happened at a recent party to your high school bestie, but reliving it with your college friends who were there with you is even more gratifying.
2. You live together
In college, you’re living with your friends on campus, or in a roomie apartment nearby for colleges that don’t require freshmen to live on campus, and this means that your college friends quickly become your new family as you navigate college together. Even though your high school friends were always over by your house, and you by theirs, it’s a whole new level when you’re navigating dish duty together or calling your college friends when you get locked out of your apartment and need a place to crash.
3. They’re always there for you
Your college friends become your new family on campus and this means that you’re always there for each other. College friends are there for you when you’re dealing with all kinds of problems — whether they’re related to your studies or not. They’re the ones who help you land your first interviews, navigate your dating life, or just straighten up your study habits.
4. You’ve seen each other at your worst (and they still stick with you)
Your college friends have seen you throwing up after drinking too much, crying over your ex, and studying for an exam at 3 AM while eating junk food just to stay awake. And you’ve held their hand through a break up, gave them a pep talk when they most needed it, and you all got through finals week together, for better or for worse.
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In College You Make Friends For Different Reasons
While your high school friends were probably in your class or sports team, you probably meet your college friends in a different way. You and your college friends connect based on common interests or studies, and because you aren’t forced to hang out with them in school social settings or long-standing play dates since elementary school, your new group of friends will be authentically chosen by you.
1. College is a weird, transitional time
Your time in college is a stage when you are transitioning into a very new and important stage of life — you are entering adulthood in a whole new way. This means that the friends you make during this time have a huge impact on you, and meet you during a time when you are all in need of support and friendship. That’s why the friends you make in college stick around for the long run.
2. You recreate your image
During this transitional time, many college students are recreating a new image from the one that they had in high school. New place, new people, new opportunity to reinvent your image. College is the chance to become a new and better version of yourself.
Whether you’re integrating the more outgoing side of your personality after being a loner throughout high school, or seeking out more creative hobbies after being involved on the sports team for so long, college is the time when you will make those changes, and that means running in different crowds that are more in line with the new you.
3. You’re away from home
Being away from home is tough, especially if it’s for the first time as a freshman student. As much as you promise to stay in touch with your high school friends, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain relationships when you’re all going through different experiences in college. Your college friends become your new family and support system as you navigate life away from home and parents, and this brings you together in a whole new way.
4. You experience more diversity
Getting away from the town that you grew up in opens up a whole new world of different people, mindsets, and even cultures. This adds to both your growth and the development of your personality as you enter adulthood. Your college friends have seen you through these changes, and they’ve gone through these changes as well.
In college, you and your friends are discovering and discussing new ideas together. You and your college friends develop these new mindsets together, and this is something that you’ll always share.
5. You experience a new college town together
Exploring and living in a new place together is a great way to solidify friendshsips. Chances are, your college town is more fun than the town you grew up in, and just being in a new place makes it exciting on its own. There are more things to do and explore with your college friends, and these adventures bring you closer.
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What You’ll Realize About Your High School Friends
1. You won’t stay in touch or visit as much as you promised
As you start to make new friends in college, and become busier with your studies and social life on campus, you’ll probably find that your communication with your high school friends peters out. You’ll still be happy to catch up, and hear about their major life events as the years progress, but you will feel a little more disconnected from their everyday life. You’ll still appreciate their friendship, but you’ll also be grateful for the new friends that you found in college.
2. You won’t have as much in common anymore
As you mature and discover new interests in college, you’ll find that you and your high school friends don’t connect about the same things anymore. You’ll still have happy memories together, and maybe enjoy reminiscing about the old days, but your paths will start to naturally separate as they follow their new interests and you follow yours. It’s just part of growing up! Your new college friends will be a really great source of connection as you explore the things you have in common with them.
3. High school friends will change
Everyone from high school eventually grows up. The kids who you thought would have sports careers end up becoming computer scientists, the popular girls end up having regular lives and no longer seem so intimidating, and everyone moves on to bigger and better things.
The Bottom Line
Our high school friends will always have a special place in our heart. They saw us through our first crushes, braces and acne, and heard our “deepest, darkest secrets” at countless sleepovers.
But college friends are the ones that are with us as we enter into adulthood and experience the real world for the first time. They’re there for you in the monumental moments of self-discovery, they support you through the tough times, they get to know the real you, and those are all precious moments.