The second you threw your cap into the air, you knew everything was going to change. Everything you’ve known for the past four years no longer seemed all that important, and it was time to head off to college to begin the next stage of your life. You’ve chosen your dream school, and you’ve decided to take this new journey with your best friend because there’s no one else you’d rather have by your side. What could possibly go wrong?

1. Horribly Homesick

Everybody gets a little homesick in college from time to time, especially in the beginning of your freshman year when everything feels so strange and uncomfortable, and it’s easy to miss the familiarity of home and high school. So, surely having your best friend by your side would help you feel better, right?

Well, not so much. Your friend is going to be a constant reminder of home, of the life you just left behind. You’ll miss doing the things you used to do together, like going to the local ice cream shop or hiking up to the river you’ve both been going to since you were thirteen years old. You’ll reminisce about the good old days together (that could have literally been three months ago), and you will be more likely to compare everything and everyone to high school, rather than viewing college as an opportunity to be a fresh, clean slate. College is such an important turning point in your life, and it’s hard enough to deal with change, so having a piece of home staring you in the face all day, every day isn’t going to be very helpful.

2. Independent Who?

You and your BFF know each other better than anyone else, and there’s no one you would rather spend your time with. However, college means new beginnings, which includes a new home, a new life, a new you and a new group of friends. If you and your friend are together 24/7, then you won’t be forced to break out of your high school shell and make new friends, which you would have had to do if they weren’t by your side.

Their constant presence will not encourage you to be independent, which is sort of the whole point of college, to prepare you for life in the real world where you have to do things on your own. Independence is one of the most valuable things you will learn in college and, unintentionally, your best friend will probably hinder your growth of becoming the new-and-improved adult version of yourself. Doing things on your own can be really scary, but it’s also really empowering, and you should try to not limit yourself in any way possible.

3. No More New You

Going away to a university is one of the few opportunities in life you receive to completely reinvent yourself. If you weren’t exactly known as the partier in high school, you can leave that in the past, grab some new friends from orientation, put on outfit that’s not your typical style and go have blast. Or, maybe it’s the opposite, and all you did in high school was party, and now it’s time to take school seriously and spend most of your time studying in the library. You can be whoever you want to be. You can try new, interesting things that you normally wouldn’t do, and no one is there to say, “Wow can you believe she signed up for that? That’s totally not like her.”

Unless you go to school with your best friend, of course. You might be scared they’ll think about you differently, or not approve of this new you that you’re trying to create, or vice versa. In order to not be alone, you might even go along with something you don’t necessarily want to do, simply because they’re doing it. In addition, you might unfortunately find that even though you seemed to have a lot in common in high school, once you’ve been taken out of that environment, it doesn’t feel quite the same.

4. Green-Eyed Monster

Odds are, even if you attend college with your BFF, you’ll probably still make new friends, even if they’re just the students your professor assigned you to be in a group project with. What if your best friend doesn’t like these new people you’re choosing to spend your time with? You came into college and it was just you and your bud, ready to take on the college experience together. Now, however, there are suddenly new people thrown into the mix, people you don’t have history with, and people that might not mesh well with your high school twin. So then what? Do you drop the new friends in fear of losing your old one, or stop hanging out with your best friend in an effort to start over? Well, ideally neither. Hopefully together you can find a new squad who you both love, but that’s certainly easier said than done.

Image via Reader’s Digest

Jealousy is a nasty emotion, and it can cause a serious rift between you and the person you thought you’d be friends with for life. You might meet someone who you just instantly click with, and it’s only natural for your best friend to become a little jealous. Or maybe they find a new friend whom they hit it off with, leaving you feeling pretty left out. These feelings might spur some not so nice comments or talking behind each other backs, which can lead to hurt feelings and some real problems in your supposedly rock-solid relationship.

5. If When Issues Arise, They’ll Follow You Home

So, the unthinkable happened, and you’re no longer best friends for life with your high school bestie. It’s been super awkward seeing them around campus and in the classes you picked together, but it’s finally Winter Break and you can go home and get away from all the drama and negativity. Unfortunately for you both, your home is their home, and you’re really not escaping them at all. Your parents are friends, you shop at the same supermarket, go to the same coffee shop and share the same group of “home friends.” So, when you get that text in your high school group chat about a reunion get-together, guess who else is going to be there? Yup, your ex-BFF.  It’s awkward for you, it’s awkward for them and it’s awkward for all of your mutual friends who now feel like they have to pick a side. Sounds like fun, right?  

As the “home friend” who came back to find that life together at college destroyed my two best friends’ perfect friendship, I can say from experience that it’s not fun for anyone. There were a lot of tears, a lot of resentment and a whole lot of uncomfortable situations. So, please, use college as an opportunity to better yourself, and do it by yourself because you’d be surprised just how much you can accomplish alone.  

Plus, you’ll make plenty of new friends along the way, but you’re going to want your high school BFF to be there for you when college gets too stressful, or when the new friend you made winds up being a little crazy. As hard as it is to leave your best friend behind, it’s worth it when you finally get to see them over break and their bone-crushing hug feels just like home.

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Alison McCarthy

University of New Haven

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