Best friends apart: how friendships change after high school

High school: four years, one campus, same people. Inevitably, you love some, and others…not so much. Through all of the ups and downs, though, you might find that one person who truly understands you. As graduation approaches, it begins to set in that the next chapter will be spent apart from that person. Leaving high school is a huge transition for everybody, and one of the hardest parts can be leaving your best friend behind. 

Isabella and Sophia:

BEST FRIENDS CELEBRATE their senior football season together. (Photo courtesy of Isabella Marrocco)

Isabella Marrocco and Sophia Wyllie met in their freshman year Social Issues class. Both fondly remember sitting next to one another and talking the entire time.

This seating arrangement only marked the beginning of their friendship, as it grew stronger throughout the remaining years of high school. Wyllie joined the cheer squad sophomore year, a sport Marrocco was already participating in, and their friendship quickly blossomed as they spent more time with one another.

When it came to their post-high school plans, however, both understood they would eventually part ways. 

WYLLIE AND MARROCCO first became friends through cheer their sophomore year.

“I wasn’t allowed to apply out of state. It’s just too expensive, so that wasn’t really ever an option for me,” Marrocco said. “I knew [Wyllie] was going to Arizona [State] so it dawned on us that we’d be far apart.” 

Unfortunately for Marrocco and other seniors attending California State schools, the fall semester will continue online. But, as with many things in life, there is always a silver lining.

“Everybody wanted their first semester of college. Getting away, moving into the dorms and finally starting to study something, participate in more clubs and just be able to be more independent. But also I feel like it might be nice to have that extra time with people who you care about and people that you went to high school with, a lot of people don’t get that. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise getting to be with everyone for a couple more months,” Marrocco said. 



Skylar and Lauren:

Lauren Steele and Skylar Strotz have been friends since the seventh grade, when they attended Del Mar Middle School together. Despite knowing each other throughout middle school, their friendship really progressed during their sophomore year of high school. 

“The new leadership roster came out and I remember we were sitting in the back of the bus together and we both found out at the same time that we didn’t get in,” Steele said. “It was pretty devastating, but it was actually a blessing in disguise because then we got to ride the bus to school together every day for the next four months and that definitely made us a lot closer.”

Photo courtesy of Skylar Strotz (Photo courtesy of Skylar Strotz)

Strotz and Steele’s relationship continued to grow throughout the course of high school, and now, as seniors, they are inseparable. Their families have become close friends as well, traveling together during breaks and summers. Over quarantine, Steele and Strotz even agreed to shelter in place together, saying they never grow bored of one another.

“We were in a house together this whole week which we would not be able to do if we were in school, so that’s been a lot of fun getting our last moments together. We’re basically sisters.” Steele said. “We talk every night and even when we hang out, we call each other like five minutes later on the drive home to continue talking. We never run out of things to say.” 

As middle schoolers, they were hoping to spend their college days together. However, as the application process began, both knew they would simply be FaceTiming across the 2,333 miles that separate University of Washington in Seattle, Washington from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. 

“I knew that Lauren had applied Early Decision to Duke University, and I knew that none of my schools were even in the same region, so even though it was her number one choice, I was secretly hoping she wouldn’t get in,” Strotz said. “I obviously couldn’t be more happy and proud of her now because it’s exactly where she’s supposed to be at. She’s going to have so much fun and I’m so proud that she’s going there. She’s going to do amazing things, but I’m going to be sad to be so far away from her.”

Besides the many memories that could have awaited the two if they had attended college together, there is also the emotional strain of leaving the one person that they shared everything with. 

“For so long I’ve always been able to count on Lauren. When things weren’t going right, I could talk to Lauren, she would be there for me. It’s going to be weird at first to not have somebody that I can count on in that way and that I know I can trust with anything, but just because we’re not going to the same school or in the same state or in the same region, I know that I will still always be able to count on her and she’ll be able to count on me,” Strotz said.