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In only a handful of months, I will be dressed in a long gown and ridiculous hat. I will walk across a stage for a piece of paper that defines my academic achievements over the last thirteen years. And then it will be official – I will be a high school graduate. That thought is exhilarating and exciting and terrifying all at once.

For a lot of us, the post-high school plan is college. And often times, college can mean moving away, whether to a different city or a different state. If you’re really lucky, you might even end up with a few, close hometown friends by your side. But chances are your hearts are set on different universities determined by diverse interests and ambitions. And as much as you will miss your friends, being apart is usually the right decision.

College is a huge investment and it’s one of the few times it is okay (and even preferred) to be incredibly selfish in your deciding process. Consider where you want to live, the quality of professors, the programs you may wish to pursue and the amount of money that you (and your parents!) are comfortable investing into your pursuit of higher education.

Especially with today’s technology, it is by no means impossible to maintain those close-knit relationships you have formulated over the years. Relationships, after all, are entirely dependent on the work you put into them.

College, I’m sure, will be absolutely crazy, but a quick text message or setting aside a half hour to Skype with a friend is by no means unreasonable. And of course, you will have opportunities to meet up over the holidays, breaks and/or summer vacation.

I met my own best friend in elementary school when I wore my hair in crooked pigtails and my backpack was about as big as I was. And next fall, the only real difference in our relationship is that we will be now best friends who live a few hours away instead of just five minutes.

Things don’t have to change completely if you don’t want them to. Sure, you will form new friendships during your time at college, but it does not have to be at the expense of your old relationships.

Your best friend during crafts in kindergarten can still be the best friend you attend bingo games with when you’re 80. It is up to you.

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