Question: I’m a senior right now and having a lot of trouble with the idea of leaving…

I am a huge fan of the Alice books and I’m very excited to see Alice deal with her senior year of high school. I’m a senior right now and having a lot of trouble with the idea of leaving–I was wondering if you could help me.

I’ve lived in the same small town for my entire life, so I’ve never really had to get out there and meet new people before. I have a small yet extremely close group of friends in my high school…we’ve been friends since ninth grade and I’m scared to death I won’t meet people like them next year. Also, my high school is very small–everybody knows everybody and the teachers all know the students outside of school–so I’m worried about dealing with a huge college campus next year.

So much of who I am is defined based on my relationships with these people I’ve known forever, so when I leave and I don’t have these people around me all the time, I’m scared I’ll completely lose myself. At the same time, I know these relationships I’ve cultivated will never be the same. Saying goodbye will be rough but I know I have to move on with my life and this is something everyone has to deal with. I feel like if I screw this up then my entire life will change and I’ll be miserable all four years of college.

All of my friends are so excited to leave our small town, and I seem to be the only one who’s really sentimental and worried about leaving. Do you have any advice for me?

PHYLLIS Replied:
It’s wonderful to have a small group of close friends, and I understand your reluctance and anxiety about leaving them. Here’s something to remember, however: you really have not “known them forever,” (since ninth grade, you said), and you probably made friends with them, just as you will make friends in college, one or two at a time. You do not have to face the whole college campus at once. First a roommate, then a couple of her friends, then someone you meet in class, someone you eat with at the cafeteria, somebody who works in the library, etc. Also, it’s simply not true that if you “screw this up,” your whole life will change. How so? You’ll undoubtedly start out friendly with one or two people whom you will later discover don’t have the same interests or values you do, so? You start seeing less and less of them, or drop them cold turkey. Or you’ll go a whole semester with people you are friendly with, but nobody you fee! l you can really confide in. So? You have email, a cell phone, you can still call your old friends wherever they are and talk. I would be very surprised if at the end of four years of college, you won’t feel you’re leaving some of the best friends you’ve ever had. Be a little optimistic here. The fact that you have close friends now means you are a person others confide in, a person who likes personal contact, which makes it very likely that you’ll meet the same kind of people in college.

Posted on: February 17, 2009


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