If high school friendships are meant to last, they will

Jackie Valley

Everyone has played the game of Life.

I’m not being metaphorical here; I’m talking about the Milton Bradley masterpiece on a square playing board with lush landscaping and brightly colored cars navigating the currents of careers, marriages, births and mid-life crises.

First stop: college, for those individuals hoping to receive a few extra “life” tiles before entering the working world. One of those life tiles is “make new friends.”

It seems so obvious. You go to college, make new friends and subsequently build a new life.

But stop right there – lose a turn, so to speak. As simple as the plan sounds, freshmen too often fall into the “thirteenth grade” trap, making Kent State an extension of whatever high school awarded them a degree.

Friends since high school or even kindergarten, they flock together to begin their college journey as a pre-made unit ready to party – this time away from parents. It’s your worst nightmare: the inevitable continuation of high school drama and expectations from your peers.

But we do it anyway.

Take it from someone who knows. As a freshman one year ago, I thought I would easily avoid the trap.

After finishing my last two years of high school south of Dayton, I was ready to pack up and head “home” to the Cleveland area. Naturally, I assumed it would be a simple endeavor to carve a brand new life in Kent, considering that sixty fellow high school graduates of mine opted for the preppy institution an hour down state Route 73, otherwise known as Miami University.

Kent State, however, had other plans for me. My identical twin sister and I made an identical decision in choosing our desired residence hall – go figure. Little did we know, we would end up living about four doors down from each other. Not exactly how I envisioned branching out in college.

True, we were not roommates, but it never dawned on us that merely being in the same building would cause us to invariably make many of the same friends, in addition to several mutual friends at Kent from our previous high school.

Luckily, early into our first semester, my sister and I made our wisest decision thus far in our college careers: We both became actively involved in our majors, consequently making separate friends and putting us well on our way toward forging our own paths in college.

Now, we have the best of both worlds – shared and separate – with the only side effect being an occasional case of mistaken identity.

There are 22,000 students at the Kent campus and between 800 and several thousand students at commuter campuses. Use it to your advantage. Embrace change and you’ll be surprised what you may find: friendship, fun, happiness. Facebook photo albums will attest to it.

And if high school friendships are meant to last, they will. The old adage “make new friends but keep the old” rings true for college, perhaps more than any other time in life. Sometimes it’s the phone call from a childhood best friend at that can put a positive spin on a particularly rough week.

Unlike the board game, life cannot be replayed. Seize the opportunities awaiting you at Kent State. There are many.

Jackie Valley is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].