This is a question that I know is probably on everyone’s minds as they pack up and leave their friends for somewhere new. Chances are that your friends are going somewhere new as well, or even if they aren’t you’re kind of scared you’ll return home to find that they’ve changed. If I’m completely honest with you, then yes there are some changes. Or at least, there were for me. But it isn’t as clear cut as the question makes it sound. Sometimes these changes can be for the better. Some people won’t have changed at all. And then the most important one: you will change as well.
They haven’t changed…
Some of your friends you can return home to and see, and just pick up where you left off. I find that this is when you’ve managed to maintain a decent amount of text/ messenger/ email/ Skype communication. I don’t really need to go into that one.
They have changed…
But what about the people who change? Even people who stayed at home may change: they may be studying from home, or working full time, or in an apprenticeship. Don’t expected them to have frozen themselves in time just for you. Let me give you some examples of “changes” you may or may not notice in your friends, some being positive and some being negative:
- They become more confident
- They’re more comfortable with themselves
- They’re better at actually saying what they think
- They never stop talking about themselves
- They become kind of…snobby?
- They become (in the total opposite of the second thing) kind of false
- You may find some of them creepy (I met up with one friend I used to get on well with- only to find I felt extremely uncomfortable around him after an hour or so)
And then there comes you: all of the above changes may apply to you as well. I didn’t think I’d really changed at all during my first year, until I was coming to the end of it. I found pictures from my fresher’s week. Not only do I look (very slightly) older now, I look and feel more confident. More adult. I’m capable of doing more than I thought I was, and handling more than I thought I could.
This is what I think the big thing is about going to uni and changing: it pulls out what was there all along. I went to uni and it pulled out the confidence that was in there but I didn’t quite know what to do with. One friend went to uni and learnt that gradually she could stop being so homesick- this particular friend gained so much confidence from her first year. Even if she couldn’t see it, I definitely could. On the flip side, if you have a friend who is actually pretty false, then being away from home in a whole new environment where people don’t know if she’s being so? It brings it out. You tend to make friends at uni quickly, and they can be some of the closest friends you’ve ever had. I believe this is because uni brings to the surface what you’re truly like, and once all of the trying to be someone else is swept away you find like minded people more easily.
Basically, I’ve found that change isn’t a bad thing. If you or your friends change for the better then that is a brilliant thing, and change in some way is inevitable. If you come across a friend who you feel has changed in a way you don’t like? Then that side was possibly there all along. And perhaps you’ve both just outgrown each other.