You Might Lose Old Friends When You Go to College—Here's Why That's Okay

Whether you'll be turning in your childhood bedroom for dorm life in just the next few months or you haven't even thought about applying to schools just yet, you can never be too prepared for college.

Sure, that can mean academically, but we're talking about the real life changes that hit harder than you might realize. After all, going off to college is the first time most of us live away from home or have to make a completely new set of friends—all things that are challenging in a way that no amount of studying can really prepare you for.

One element in particular that a lot of people don't realize about going to college is the changes to your friend group, particularly the loss of some of your old friends. It's nothing drastic usually, just a sort of distancing that occurs over time. The thing is, while it may seem hard to imagine now, it's actually completely normal to lose friends when you start your new life at the university of your choosing. In fact, it's totally okay for that to happen! Let's talk about why:

1. You're No Longer Around Each Other All the Time

Until college, our schooling systems are a pretty unique environment that makes it easy for you to spend the majority of your time (for the majority of the year, too) with the same group of people, all of whom are around your age and who experience similar things. As such, it's no wonder why you cling on to a group of friends that are there with you through it all. But when you're no longer in that setting, there's no regular reason for you to see each other unless you put in real effort to do so. And since you'll be so busy with other things, there's just a good chance you might start finding yourself distanced from old friends as figuratively as you are literally apart.

Shutterstock: Smiling African American student raising his hand to ask a questing during a class at lecture hall.

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2. You Develop New Interests and  Friendships

One of the greatest things about going off to college is the incredible amount that you'll learn about yourself in the process. You'll meet a wealth of new people who could become a major part of your life for the long run, and those people could help you discover new interests or passions that really push you forward in life. Essentially, you won't really be the same person that you were at 15 when you're 25, so it's okay to seek out friends that better align with the life you create for yourself than force old friendships to stick around (and possibly even hold you back).

Shutterstock: Riga, Latvia -2019 Group of friends hanging out

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3. Your Time Is Better Spent on Other Things

Everyone knows that the "one kid from high school who graduated years ago but still shows up at all the events" trope is a little bit sad. There's nothing wrong with feeling nostalgic or trying to keep some connections going if you graduate before them, but in reality, your time is so much better spent on other things when you get to college. You might have clubs, sorority and fraternity life or even romantic relationships going on, not to mention all the academic pressure to study and ace your exams. If your high school friends are going to other colleges, then it's safe to bet that they're also dealing with a lot of stuff that's eating up their time and growing into new people. It's all just a necessary part of life, but we promise you'll come out so much better through it all.

Shutterstock: College students studying together in campus ground

(via Shutterstock)


With all of that said, none of this means that you have to drop your high school friends the moment you hit your university's campus! Some friendships really are forever, it's just about figuring out which ones are worth your time and effort and which will naturally fall away with time.

So, don't stress about things falling into place—or about making new friends in college, either! In fact, we can help. Just click HERE to read about some easy ways to make new friends.