The Drift: High-School Friendships

Maintaining high-school friends while at uni – should you, can you, and will you? Vivian He delves into the realm of high-school friendships, and whether they are worth keeping during our hectic time at uni.

It’s time to leave the nest and familiarity of high-school and dive into the world of tertiary education. How exciting. How stressful. And everyone seems to rattle on about all the friends that they make during their time at university. But when you’re so busy making new connections – what about the old ones? Should the past be replaced to make room for the present, or should you work hard to keep the best of both worlds?

Once you’ve entered university, you will rapidly understand how hard it is to make plans with friends. Assignments, lectures, tutorials, work … they all get in the way of being social and prevent the promise of “lets catch up sometime” from becoming a reality. 

After spending so much time with your high-school friends and experiencing the dreaded Year 12 with them, they seem to feel like close friends at the time. You’re always within the same school grounds at the same times and can lunch together even with different classes. But once you transition to the divergent university scheduling, it's easy to feel that those high-school friends seem so far away. Even without any particular fights, the duration spent apart undeniably causes the connection to drift apart, though when you stumble across those primal friendships, the past seems to liven up again.

As for whether or not to keep your high-school friends in conjunction with your newfound ones, it depends on you; yet it’s difficult because you meet your high-school friends before you’ve figured out who you are, and what you want. I’ve come to realise that many of my past friendships were maintained only by the time spent together, rather than the depth of friendship or things in common. The shared past memories hold those previous friendships together, yet there's always an unperturbed connection that comes back whenever you do see each other.

Uni friends, I've come to understand, are much more sparse and hard to find. But when I do, it feels like I’ve finally found my soulmates and so I work on those relations with a lot more energy, love and effort. Now I know what kind of people I want by my side, and although there may be few, I know that I have a deeper connection with and are worth my time to sustain.

Times constraints, priorities and changes in identities are an inevitable part of growing up.

Therefore, it’s 100% okay to drift from certain high-school friendships and demote them to an acquaintance-like status, and venture into new ones where you’ve chosen for yourself that you will protect. The one who needs to balance all these friendships are ultimately you, thus it is not worth spending your valuable time and effort to salvage past relationships just for the sake of it. The benefit about going to uni is being able to select your own friendships, so choose the high-school friendships that have the most significance, rather than convenience, and channel your effort on keeping the important ones.

If anything, I’ve personally felt relieved at not needing to spend my time keeping up pretences and shallow relationships. I’m not burning bridges, but rather choosing to endeavour into foreign environments. But if I ever stumble back to those familiar bridges, then consider it a small blast to the past.

Vivian He is a second-year Public Communications student, who is also completing a Diploma of Japanese. When she has time to spare, she likes to mindlessly wander through YouTube, or dance like a lunatic in her room.