I cried when I said goodbye to my parents in August. Just like I cried when I said goodbye to them in the Mayfield parking lot during freshman orientation. It’s hard not to cry when your mama says, “Not everyone gets to have their daughter also be their best friend.”
Oftentimes, when the sun is setting, my throat hurts and my body feels untethered in the worst way. I had just sent out invitations for my birthday weekend to my three best friends from home. I always, always go home on breaks. Sometimes I listen to Owl City and A Rocket To The Moon when I’m showering because they remind me of high school.
Every single time I leave home, it’s hard. And I honestly don’t really want it to get easier. It being hard is a sign that there are so many people that love me so well there.
Living in the tension between places is hard, but people back home keep me grounded and safe; they give me strength so that I don’t want to give up. I am so opposed to cutting those ties.
I’m a Gateway mentor, and we read a bunch of articles about helping first-year students transition to college. I hate those articles because according to them, I have unsuccessfully transitioned. While I’m not one of those 20-year-olds who sits in the home stands every Friday night, my top friends on Snapchat are from Iowa. What does that say about me?
Some day, I will leave JBU and go somewhere else. Actually, that day is feeling pretty close. I don’t want to lose touch with Madison, Peyton, AnnaClaire and so many others when I leave Arkansas because I will be leaving Arkansas. Some of my best friends in the world are here, and it would be such a shame to forget about them in order to make my transition to a new city or grad school or a job easier.
This is a transient time of life, and I want to haul my people around with me. Staying in touch with people across miles and life seasons has been difficult but fulfilling for me. Starting fresh in each new place may be easier, but I don’t know if easier is necessarily better.
For those of you who don’t keep in touch with a single person from high school because high school was horrible, or you didn’t have any good friends or you’ve just gone a different way, I’m so happy you’re at JBU. There are so many great people for you here, people who will stick with you long into the future.
For those of you who still have close friends from home, from camp, from the past whom you miss fiercely and love so hard, it’s all right. You’re not doing anything wrong. I’m so happy you found your people; it doesn’t matter where they’re from. Hold on to them, and allow yourself to find more friends while you’re here.
Sometimes people find their forever friends in college, and sometimes , they find them in preschool. Our hearts are big and love multiplies. There is enough room. Don’t restrict your circle. Curate your tribe well.
Guy is a senior majoring in psychology. She can be reached at GuyLN@jbu.edu.