Think of the first five people you met at college in your first year, that is, if those memories haven't succumbed to alcohol-induced amnesia.
Who were they? How did you meet them? Why did you meet them? Where? When? With whom? Doing what?
Now ask yourself, where are they now? Chances are, they're doing five completely different, unrelated things and you're probably not even sure what those things are. While mildly depressing, that's the reality of life.
After graduation, times do change, friendships do fade and life stops for no man, woman or graduate. For better or worse, the tapestry of each and every one of our lives drastically alters itself -- day-in, day-out.
Our lives diverge in different ways, as we do, and like all things, college and the friendships we forged there can't go on for ever. Sometimes our respective paths will cross again. Sometimes they won't. C'est la vie.
However, the age we live in dictates that it's almost impossible to drift apart and lose touch completely. All you need to remember is the name of a friend and the all-knowing eye of social media does the work, allowing us to follow every footstep of past friends, albeit pixelated, wherever they may go.
Although we follow, like and poke these friends via social media, it doesn't stop our relationships from changing, or fading out entirely.
Here are the five college friends we may never see again:
1) The International Man/Woman of Mystery (IMWOM)
This person vanishes periodically, but frankly, you're none the wiser as to what it is he or she actually does. Whatever it is, it looks like a blast, but for the life of you, you can't pin this person down for so much as 20 minutes of Skype-based japes. What gives?
The IMWOM is seemingly everywhere. One week, he's skiing in the Alps; the next week he's in sunny California. One week she's off having "meetings" in New York; the next week she's replacing her blood plasma with fine wine in dimly lit, backstreet, European bars.
Somewhere in the mix of all that, the IMWOM may or may not work. Sometimes, his or her job is vaguely defined but maddeningly interesting; sometimes it's something less complex, like teaching English to needy foreigners. All you know is, the IMWOM is always doing something.
In short, this person exists with some degree of purpose somewhere else, often in several different somewhere elses, and in the booze-fueled/travel-based whirlwind his or her life has become, the IMOWM has no time for you.
2) The Sojourner
Having tried and failed -- or maybe not even tried -- to get a "real job" post-graduation, the Sojourner is another circle closer in proximity to the absolute center of frustrated-friendship-hell than the IMWOM.
The Sojourner also exists somewhere else, but with a mere sliver of the purpose that the IMWOM has. He or she is too busy getting blind drunk on freedom from all things 9 to 5 on weekdays. All you know is, he or she is out there somewhere.
One day, the Sojourner will reappear in your life a few shades darker or much better at snowboarding, and with a list of alcohol-related stories as long as the Bible. Until then, though, all you can hope for is that he or she does indeed come back and doesn't drink him or herself to death in the meantime.
3) The Career Hero
The polar opposite of the Sojourner, the Career Hero has hit the recent grad equivalent of a home run and landed a stellar position with a top 10 graduate employer. Maybe it's closer to home; maybe it's somewhere else. Regardless, you're initially happy for him or her. The Career Hero was always a hard worker and deserved what he or she got.
In time, however, you drift apart from him or her, as the Career Hero's once plentiful free time condenses itself into 10 paid vacation days a year and a couple of ludicrously expensive after-work Friday night cocktails. Success breeds success, social circles shift and the result is that you seldom set eyes on the Career Hero again.
4) The Dropout
In stark contrast to the other friends who have spread their wings in progressive ways, the Dropout's life has seemingly struggled to take flight, landing him or her not much farther than his or her original nest.
Perennially on the run from student loan companies, the Dropout works a relatively menial job well below what his or her degree qualifies him or her for -- but by no means entitles them to -- in order to keep debtors at bay.
Somehow, the Dropout seems to not be entirely bothered by it all. In fact, it doesn't seem like much is happening in this person's life at all. He or she is totally unreachable, and to top it all off, none of your friends have seen him or her since graduation.
The Dropout has seemingly disappeared into a bizarre, never-ending cycle of drink-serving or supermarket-shelf-stacking. Worst of all, his or her night shift frequency means that even an attempt at coaxing the Dropout into a pint at a reasonable time seems like a task equivalent to scaling the north face of the Mount Everest.
5) The College Ex
Many couples stick it out after college and then even further into the harsh realms of wives, kids and white picket fences. If they're honest with each other and happy about their life together, good for them.
However, forever remaining forgotten are those relationships that struggle to last past graduation.
There could be several reasons why it ended. Maybe post-college distance finally became a chore. In the realization that life is different off-campus, maybe the head finally started overruling the heart. Maybe your career paths diverged and drove you apart. Maybe your College Ex went somewhere else and simply left you behind.
Whatever your relationship downfall was, it's over now. Whether you miss him or her, or are just pretending not to, your College Ex meant a lot to you at one point in the past. However you feel about him or her currently, pretending that the relationship wasn't a loss amounts to solely kidding yourself.
Although a variety of friends are lost throughout the process of beginning your adult life, the ones who are meant to stay will stick around. Besides, in starting a new job and living in a new city comes the promise of new friendships. Going out with someone you barely know is a great way to make new relationships and remind yourself you're not the socially awkward duckling you once were pre-college.
Try not to dwell on those no longer in your life, and instead, focus on the new experiences and relationships you're gaining.
Photo via Van Wilder