Maria Fischer observes the pros and cons of coming to college while still remaining connected with high school friends.
The first year of college comes with its fair share of challenges, but perhaps the most nerve-wracking aspect of freshmen year is choosing your friends for the next four years.
Many incoming freshmen say goodbye to their close-knit group of hometown friends and head off to college alone with hopes of meeting new people. Others cling onto familiarity and go to school with their high school crowd.
But are students who go to college with high school friends at a disadvantage?
Some say yes. According to Harlan Cohen, a columnist and author of The Naked Roommate... And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, choosing to attend college with high school friends has its risks. While it’s tempting to want to ease into college life by staying at your high school friends’ sides, Cohen warns students in The Naked Roommate that if they go off to school and live with their hometown friends but hate it, “you’ll lose a best friend.” But if students live with a stranger and decide they don’t have much in common, it’s “not a loss.”
Heading to college with high school buddies might leave students with little incentive to meet new people. But on the other hand, stepping onto a campus without a familiar face can be rather intimidating.
I started my college career at a school about 9 hours away from home. Every time I looked around campus, I could immediately spot the students who went to high school together. They were there to help each other settle into life away from home — a support system I was envious of. Even though going away to school alone forced me out of my comfort zone, I would be lying if I said the first few months weren’t lonely.
In comparison, my transition into life at Ohio University was much smoother thanks to the help of my old high school friends. They showed me the ropes but still gave me room to make new friends on my own. Now my college friend group is made up of friends from high school, friends from extracurriculars and friends from class.
Some students agree that going to school with longtime friends actually helped expand their social lives.
“It makes the transition into college smoother,” OU sophomore Kyle Johnson said. “When you start school with a solid group of friends from back home, it’s easier to make new friends because your friends start making friends, then you start becoming friends with their new friends, and then their friends, and on and on.”
While college is the time to branch out and meet new people, there’s nothing wrong with keeping a few buddies from high school close. With the many changes that come along with the transition into college, sometimes it’s nice to have a little piece of home with you on campus.
Maria Fishcer is a junior studying journalism. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org