Graphic by Haley Morkert.
ABIGAIL PLUFF | OPINION COLUMNIST | firstname.lastname@example.org
Full disclosure: I am not a licensed therapist. Honestly, I am not licensed in anything whatsoever, besides to operate a motorized vehicle. I’m just a gal with lots of opinions who enjoys giving unsolicited advice to almost anyone around me. So, if this is adverse advice, you can’t sue me or my place of work. Sorry!
This one goes to my Bridget, my Audrey, my Anna. I can’t even begin to think of being separated from you.
“I’m a senior who just realized there’s only a little more than two months left before we graduate. I can’t imagine not living on the same campus as my close friends, but we’re getting close to having to move away after graduation. What do I do?” — Loyal Reader
Ugh, graduation. The most exciting and most heartbreaking part of everyone’s college career. I can hardly think about it without getting anxious.
After May, people will begin to scatter across the world, separating from their groups of friends to continue their education, start their careers and begin to be “real adults.” The quotation marks are the most important part of that entire sentence, by the way. Real adults are fake, there’s no such thing.
Seniors, your group of friends has likely become your second family throughout the last four years. They have stood by you through heartbreak, been there for every good — and bad — test score, been there to laugh and cry and mourn and celebrate. They’ve cheered you on and cheered you up. Heck, maybe they even showed you what true love was. I know my friends sure did.
It’s heartbreaking to have your college family split up, no matter how proud you are of them for growing, learning and achieving their dreams. There’s no way to make this heartbreak go away. However, the first step to dealing with it is to make the most of the time you have left with your favorite humans.
There is no one way to spend memorable quality time with your friends, but there are some ways to start. First, learn your love languages. If you don’t know what yours are, take this quiz. It’ll rock your world!
Once you know your love languages and the love languages of your friends, you can find the best ways to make the most of the time you have left together. Whether your top language is quality time, acts of service, physical touch, gift giving or words of affirmation, you can find ways to build your college friendships. Loving your friends the way they need to feel secure can help to foster the relationships that will last for the rest of your lives, not just for the rest of your college years. Or months. Ugh, again.
Speaking of only having months left, spend the rest of the time you have on campus making memories and creating stories that you can reminisce on forever. Make inside jokes, be silly and talk about everything you can. Do the cheesy things you’ve never let yourself do before, things you may have said you would never in a million years do: jump in the fountains around campus, climb to the top of the parking garage and look at the stars. Do everything, at least once, without being afraid of what people will think. Only things that are legal and COVID-19-safe, of course. Your future grandchildren, or cats, will thank you.
These last two months can be invaluable time to get to know the deepest parts of yourself and the people around you. Learn what makes your friends tick, what makes them happiest and most full of despair. Be there for them during this melancholy period of transition.
Remember, just because you’ll be far apart doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose your friendships. Continuing to reach out and show love and support to one another from wherever you end up can keep your friendships as strong as ever. Be your friends’ biggest cheerleader.
The rest of this final semester will fly by, and then most of us will no longer live on campus with our friends. Being five minutes away from those you care most about at any time is a feeling that will most likely not come again for many of us. Making the most of this opportunity will make our impending separations so much easier.
These last few months, know that I am with you. We’re all in this together, “High School Musical” style, and it’s okay for us to be sad. Let’s lean on one another and have each other’s backs. Community of Care and all that, you know.
You are valuable, valid and loved, especially my fellow seniors.
If you have a question that you’d like to see discussed in Ask Abby, feel free to contact me via email, carrier pigeon or telepathy.