Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Your source for CHS news


Students, counselor discuss impact of high school friendships, staying in touch after graduation

Zoe Tu
READY TO REMINISCENCE: Seniors Sandra Yang (left) and Pragathi Arunkumar (right) discuss their plans to travel together during summer break on Nov 20th, 2023. “We really wanted to go on a senior trip this upcoming summer so we can make the most of our summer because it is very likely we will go to different colleges,” said Arunkumar.

When senior Alexandra “Sandra” Yang moved to this school for her sophomore year, she said she struggled to fit in at first. Yang said her friendships played a big role in helping her through the transition.

“I didn’t know anyone when I moved here,” Yang said. “but making friendships really made me realize there’s nothing wrong with me, like, I’m not weird or anything. There are people who accept me and love me just the way I am.” 

Yang is not alone in feeling this way. According to a 2022 study conducted by Qualtrics, only around half of all high-school students feel as though they fit in with their peers. However, like Yang, many students said good friendships have helped them move past this feeling.

For Yang, her friendship with senior Pragathi Arunkumar was especially helpful. 

“(Arunkumar) and I just instantly connected,” she said. “The way we laughed together and the way I could talk about anything with her just felt right (immediately).” 

Similarly, Arunkumar said her friendship with Yang has impacted her life tremendously. 

“It’s really nice to have someone with you who is always there for you, and just someone to talk to about, like, (anything)” Arunkumar said. “High school can be really bad so it’s nice to share that ‘bad-ness’ with someone. You kind of need friendships in high school to survive. I think there’s so much negativity (at school) and you need something to compare it to.”

Importance of Friendships

Counselor Casey Danubio said she thinks friendships in high school are one of the most important parts of every teenager’s life. 

“Teenagers are most influenced by their circle of friends (and peers), so it is extremely important to pick good friends who have similar values as you do and are good people,” Danubio said. “Friends mean so much to teenagers and interactions amongst friends are how teens practice social skills.”

Yang said she agreed, and having stable friendships are crucial to high school students’ ability to explore themselves. 

“In order to really branch out and do new things, you need to have a really stable base from which you can go up and do things from,” Yang said. “Having a really good friend group that is super supportive (can really give you) the courage to go out and try new things that you wouldn’t normally do.”

Furthermore, both Arunkumar and Yang said they emphasize the importance of having just a few good friends in their lives that they can depend on.

“When you start off high school, it’s really easy to have the mentality that having a bunch of friends is something that you should try and attain, or that the more friends you have, or the more popular you are, the happier you’ll be,” Arunkumar said. “Over time, you realize that having a few really good friends is better than having a bunch of friends who really don’t think of you or know you that well.” 

To add on, Yang said as her friendships have changed throughout high school, she has found the circle of people with whom she is most comfortable. 

“I’m definitely someone who prioritizes quality over quantity when it comes to friendships,” Yang said. “I’ve cut off a lot of people, but (the people I’m still friends with) are all people I really love, and unambiguously make me so happy, like, I am always so happy to be around those people.”

Yang also said the way she views friendships generally has shifted significantly since she was younger. 

“When I was really young, all of my friends were just kids who were in my classes, or kids whose parents were friends with my parents, or who did my extracurriculars,” Yang said. “But now, the people I’m closest with, I’ve never had a class with any of them. We’re not friends because we’re forced to be together, we’re friends because we actively choose to be.” 

Zoe Tu, Siri Byrisetty

Friendships after High School

However, being seniors, both Yang and Arunkumar will be leaving this school after this year. Arunkumar said she thinks staying in touch with her high school friends will be difficult, but she will still make an effort to stay connected. 

“I really love all of my friends, but being realistic, going to college is such a huge change, so staying in touch with all of my old friends all the time is probably not realistic, as much as I want to,” Arunkumar said. “There are definitely a few people who are really close to me that I’ll definitely stay in touch with. I’ll definitely either come back to visit or talk to them (while I’m in college).”

Yang said she agreed, and that experiencing the struggles of being apart will be worth it. 

“I think the friendships are definitely going to change a lot. Like, are we going to be less in contact? Yeah, but we’re still going to be close,” Yang said. “I think the really great thing about the friendships I have right now is that (these people) have so many good qualities that I know I will want to be around them no matter what happens.”

Danubio said she believes there are benefits to staying in touch with high school friends even after high school. 

“It can be comforting to maintain high school relationships and to pick up with those when home on breaks,” Danubio said. “You have a lot in common with your high school friends so it can be very rewarding to maintain contact and have that bond of past similar experiences. Some students have been friends since kindergarten and some will maintain friendships that span their lifetime.”

Danubio also added, “I think it is good to have positive interactions with people who have known you and watched you grow over a long period of time. People change so much and it can be very comforting to have friends who have seen you and helped you through your teen years.”

Arunkumar said maintaining connections to high school friends after graduating can remind you of the journey you’ve been on throughout your life thus far. 

“Your high school friends have seen you at your best and your worst. They’ve been with you since you were basically a baby,” Arunkumar said. “When you grow up and do so many different things, like, it can be kind of terrifying to step into the world. Having (your high school friends) as kind of a reminder of where you started and that comfort isn’t really something you can get from anything else.”

Yang said sharing life experiences with high school friends even across states can help high school friendships stay alive. 

“As we change, we’re going to be in similar situations. We’re all going to be in college together, we’re all going to be going through the same thing together,” Yang said. “Sharing those experiences with each other, whether it’s over text or social media, can help us stay in touch.”

Friendship’s Lessons

Ultimately, Arunkumar said her high school friendships have taught her lessons that will stick with her for the rest of her life. 

“Friendships have ups and downs. Through your friendships you learn how to communicate with other people, you learn how to be a better person, you learn your own faults, you learn how to deal with other people’s faults,” she said. “Learning how to apply that to the rest of your life is something that you learn fundamentally with your friendships, especially in high school. Drama and mishaps will happen inevitably, but if you learn how to deal with them early on it will be better (in the future).”

Leave a Comment
Donate to HiLite
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All HiLite Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *