Moving Apart: The Reality of Senior and Underclassman Friendships

Ella Watson


I don’t know how I’m gonna do life without them.” sophomore Kamryn McDonald said.

With graduation quickly approaching, many students are realizing their friendships may be distanced because of it. McDonald is friends with seniors Rileigh Hooton and Eden Willard, who are all experiencing the changes that come with graduation approaching. 

The three have played volleyball together since the start of McDonald’s freshman year and bonded as teammates on Varsity.  During the season, McDonald suffered an ankle injury, which affected her ability on the court. She became a varsity manager instead, and McDonald said this strengthened the bonds between her and some of the older players on the team including Hooton and Willard. 

It’s kind of like a stress reliever. You get to do the thing you love with the people you love, and it’s nice…you have those people that can always support you and back you up.” Mcdonald said.

The team quickly recognized that McDonald, Hooton, and Willard were friends. Varsity assistant coach Mendy Edwards said she enjoys seeing players of different ages like Hooton, Willard, and Kamryn become such close friends. 

“They’re nice kids, and they have good attitudes, you know what I mean? Like they’re pretty accepting of others. They like to have a good time. They can be serious about sports when they need to be but they also are pretty fun-loving and, you know, like to have fun while they’re doing it and they’re positive with each other. So I think they all attract each other.” Edwards said. 

When the girls originally met, they had no idea how close they would eventually become. McDonald said she was scared to even approach or talk to Rileigh when they first met. 

The gap in age between McDonald and the other two is part of what made them question any possible friendship. While it wasn’t a huge deal when becoming friends, there were definitely some parts about it that all of the girls questioned.

“I met Eden first, and I knew we were going to be friends because we were literally with each other all the time,” Hooton said. “And then with Kamryn, it was yes, I knew we were going to be friends. But there was also an age gap difference because she was a freshman and I was a junior at the time. I didn’t know we would be as close as we are.”

Despite the age gap, they said their friendship became stronger over the years than they could’ve ever imagined. They quickly became close friends who hung out often, and while they love to hang out all the time, they say their school and competitive volleyball seasons become very busy and they have trouble finding time outside of school to hang out with each other. Also, being different ages, they have very different schedules and activities in their lives. 

With both Hooton and Willard graduating in only a few months, they are all starting to realize the change that will soon be happening in their lives. 

“I think I’m gonna cry a lot when I have to hug them and say bye for the last time. And then when I’m out at Northwest I’m just gonna be sad and wishing they were with me.” Willard said.

Willard is planning to attend college at Northwest Missouri State, and Hooton plans to go to Mizzou, which both colleges are much further away from each other and McDonald than the girls are used to. They said the biggest change they will all experience is that they can’t drive five minutes to get to each other’s houses. Currently, they live nearby each other, and drive to each other’s houses constantly. 

“I guess I’ll just miss being able to talk to them whenever I want to or being able to hang out with Eden whenever I can. But like with Kamryn I feel like she’s gonna continue to do volleyball and be very successful in that and I’ll just be in college and doing my own thing.” Hooton said. “I feel like we’ll lose connection, but we’ll always be there for each other.”

All three girls said it will be heartbreaking to leave the others behind, but they think they can keep the relationship, at least a little bit. 

“I just think that whenever I’m with them, we’re literally just always laughing, so I’m gonna miss that with them.” Willard said.

The friendship that has been going on since McDonald’s freshman year and before, will be separated very soon by graduation. While they will no longer be with each other physically, they said the connection between them will still be there long after they graduate.