I see you. I see your photos wishing for one more year. I see your laughter and tears wondering what life will look like without the friends who have grown to feel family. And believe me, I see your fears. Fears of not knowing what the heck you are doing and what in the world adulthood officially looks like. I wanted to write this because I know how it feels to be in your shoes, excited yet partly dreading the next chapter of life.
College is special and will forever be one of my favorite seasons of time. It is a collection of four unique years filled with the most perfectly, spontaneous moments that will rarely be duplicated again. It’s a time where you first learn to grow up and live on your own, meet your forever best friends, create connections with a local church, and fall in love with a city that eventually earns the term “home.” I think college is meant to be crafted that way. A time that is both easy and challenging, beautiful and hectic, impulsive and planned. Every possible moment and feeling first truly experienced while living in the state of “college life.” It makes it hard to imagine leaving.
One of my primary concerns when finishing school was leaving my friends. I knew that I would stay close to some, but also realized I may never get the chance to be with many again. Change with your college friendships is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be just as wonderful as before. I want to encourage you with what I have learned regarding three groups of friends you will hold during your post grad life. For me, these circles have only grown sweeter with time. You will soon see.
You know those “sisters or brothers” you have endured endless meetings with, shared more Wasabi meals than you can count, and cried with laughter over the most ridiculous of things? You may not see these friends as often as you like, but every. single. time. you pick up exactly where you left off. Actually, you probably revert a few years and pick up back to your big-headed sophomore year egos. So many of my favorite weekends over the past four years are the times I get to reunite with these girls. It could be 5 days or 5 months and we are still immature weirdos making up stupid routines on the dance floor and calling the pizza delivery man at 12:30am. (Yep, that is the one thing that changes – its no longer 3:00am food runs, its 12 -1am TOPS. You will soon learn you love mornings and cannot function without a good nights sleep!!) These friends have been with me in my best and ugliest of times, and those hilarious or impactful memories do not go away. So enjoy the football games, weddings and random weekends you get with one another and make some new memories while you are at it! My only hope is that ten years later, you and I can think back these to friendships and realize, yet again, that this bond has never changed.
The best news is that your core friends in college, you know those few that were there for everything, they aren’t going anywhere. We call these people: forever friends. Life with this crew only gets sweeter with time. Half of the group will move to new places throughout the years, some get engaged and married, a couple will still be studying trying to pass all of their make-or-break tests, and each of us will travel some distance to go see one another. No matter how much change takes place in one another’s lives, these friends somehow manage to feel like they are right there beside you the whole way. They are your biggest cheerleaders and always remind you of the truest parts of yourself. Once college ended and “real life” began, I fully understood how much I needed these people to celebrate, dream, hurt and do life with me. I also realized how perfect and relaxing it is to spend one hour or a whole weekend in their company, in which I hug them a little harder when saying our temporary farewells. But as I said, the great news is that these friends aren’t going anywhere. They prove that over and over again through every make or break season in life. So enjoy that long hug with an easy “See Yaaa Later” because you have countless roadtrips, facetimes, adventures, and gatherings ahead in your future.
No matter how much your college and core friends rock, new friends are obviously necessary. My first year out of school I didn’t quite understand this yet, but it soon settled in once I realized I had limited girl friends that I could just simply call. Possessing fun, intentional friends in your same phase of life is so important, but they can sometimes take time to find. The greatest lesson I have learned regarding creating a new community after college is to force yourself out of your comfort zone. The pursuit of making new friends is something that will always be present in your life so why not go ahead and get good at this?! Live with someone new, say yes to awkward coffee dates, and attend the group hangouts where you at-first feel like an outsider. I found my post-college girl group by stepping out of the box and living with twins I hardly knew, and I am SO thankful for that decision because we created the greatest memories while hosting parties, starting a book club and mostly just living together. I found three of my best friends and champions in my life by choosing to get uncomfortable and do something new, and you can too! Again I am heeding the advice I have learned and am stepping into the uncomfortable to find friends in Nashville. But this time, I have noticed it’s a little easier after a few years of practice. The best things about finding new friends is that typically they are trying to find you too! So put yourself out there and enjoy the excitement of creating new connections. As I am discovering, the college acquaintance you passed in hallways or the “random joes” you met at a burger joint may just be the best friends you were searching for.
So Graduate, soak in your final weeks, cry your happy tears, and put all of your worrying behind you. Post grad life looks different, but you have SO SO MUCH to look forward to.
Post Grad Photo Reel