Every year around the middle of August, those same feelings come back. The feeling of longing, of excitement, and of independence. Yes, moving back to college is near and after a summer of work and of living at home you are ready. So ready. But guess what? One year it won’t be the same. Sure, those feelings will be there, just like they had been for the past four years, but this year you won’t be fulfilling them. You remember that you graduated. You will never be that college student you once were. You are now an “adult” who has to watch all of your other friends who didn’t graduate or who have one more year left getting ready to move back. What they don’t tell you after you graduate from college is how much the “back to school” season will suck.
Instead of thinking of all the new memories you will make in the coming school year, you will start to reminisce about all the memories you have made. You start to look at the hundreds of pictures you took, the numerous embarrassing videos and all of the Snapchat memories. It is here where you feel like you go back in time to being a senior…junior…sophomore…freshman. You remember being so scared about making new friends on your floor. Even worse, what if all the people on your floor were weird and you didn’t meet a single potential friend?
But that didn’t happen.
You found your people and you had a blast hanging out in each other’s dorm room, complimenting how you loved where they placed their futon. You think about the numerous lunches and dinners you shared in between classes, during the day or, God forbid, before that dreaded night class that you swore you would never take. Through all the newness you found your best friends and you grew closer and closer with them each year.
That’s the cool thing about college: You meet people from all over and you go your separate ways each summer, but once late August rolls around you are all back together as if those three months never happened. The only evidence that there was a summer break is that everyone looks tanner and better than they do in those dark winter months you all have to endure.
Year after year, you find out who you are through the classes you take, the major you declare, and the things you do with your ample free time. But regardless of the paths you take, your best friends stick with you and ultimately become the people who understand you the best. They become your sounding board about whether or not you should take that class at that time with that professor. They give you their honest advice about that outfit and whether or not it’s too aggressive for going out on a Wednesday. It’s the accessibility you will miss once you graduate. You friends are no longer down the street. You can’t just walk back from class and barge through their front door. They are miles and miles away after graduation, which is the hardest part. Over the four years, you were able to count on three things: classes, hanging out doing nothing with your best friends all the time, and going out whenever you wanted to. College is a balancing act, so once you graduate you feel out of balance.
But while the first August after graduation is full of nostalgia, there is also something else they didn’t tell you.
Graduation doesn’t mean that time rewinds and you suddenly go back to the time where you didn’t meet all of those people. Your friendships aren’t erased; in fact, they are strengthened. Because you no longer live down the street, you have to find and make the time for these people who are so important to you. You realize that your relationships transcend your college’s campus. It is an ode to the time and effort you put in the last four years that you are rewarded with people who will stick with you despite the distance. College friendships are different than high-school friendships. In college, you begin to know who you truly are, which allows you to maintain friendships with people who directly complement you and your goals, which gives them those long-lasting qualities.
Because of the people you surrounded yourself with, the memories you make in college are so tempting to look back on as the best days of your life. So while graduation means another chapter of your life is ending, it doesn’t mean that your life will never be as great as it was in college, because if you look back at those pictures and videos, one thing will remain constant in the years to come: those people you met freshman year.