By: HEATHER KELLER
As a senior nearing the end of my time at Sacred Heart, high school feels like it happened a lifetime ago. But the friendships I’ve made over the past eight years here at SHU and in my hometown are some of the most cherished things in my life.
I’m from Delaware. Coming to Sacred Heart—a college five hours away from home—was definitely nerve racking, but what never made me think twice about the distance was my core group of friends from high school. My closest friends were dedicated to keeping in touch and making the distance between us seem so little. We wanted to keep our relationships strong, and I found comfort in that while I was away.
Some of my friends entered my life as early as elementary school near the beginning of my education. Over the years, through the comings and goings of friends up until the end of high school, we all developed as people. The experiences we shared together helped shape us into who we are today, and formed the genuine love we have for one another no matter the circumstances or physical distance separating us.
I can’t pretend that I was never homesick as a freshman, but looking back on the times when I missed my friends and family is really comforting. That might not sound normal, but knowing that I had something in my life worth missing brought peace to my mind.
But I can’t just write about hometown friends without mentioning the girls who have been by my side since the beginning. We call ourselves S.S.S.L.A.S.H (pronounced “slash”). I’ll admit that it’s not a very original name because it really just combines our first initials, but we own it. Even if I am sometimes terrible at replying to our constantly-updated group chat, I have faith that they know I am always with them in spirit even if we don’t talk every day.
Before college, it was so easy to take my cherished friendships for granted because of the ample opportunities my friends and I had to see each other. I am still learning that high school and college don’t revolve around academics, but rather around the friendships that end up becoming more than just someone you recognize in the hallway.
As a freshman, I was scared that I would never make the same kind of friends that I had back home. I didn’t want to feel like I was searching for their replacement, even if the idea of replacing my hometown friends was impossible.
When I was a freshman, I wish someone had told me that I shouldn’t have an agenda for the friends I thought I needed. The best friends I have made in college have not sprouted from random conversations in the dining hall, or because we sat next to each other in a class.
My best friends are people who walked into my life by chance. One lived in the room across the hall in Merton, and another was a stranger invited into our room one night by my outgoing freshman roommate while this innocent girl was trying to brush her teeth in the bathroom.
The fact of the matter is, making friends isn’t something that I had much experience with. My hometown friend group was well established by the time we reached high school, and I never had to look far in the hallways to find one of my best friends or at least a familiar face. Over the past three years and through my college experiences, however, I feel like I’ve returned to that same environment again.
Both my hometown and college friends have helped me grow as a person, and for that I will be forever grateful.