Staying Close From States Away
Starting a new school year, especially when it’s your first year of college, comes with many challenges and opportunities. One of the difficulties many freshmen and transfer students face is keeping in touch with friends from home. It can be difficult to adjust after moving away from friends and peers you grew up with. There are ways to ease into this transition, though, and keep those friendships strong and healthy.
I met my best friend, Melanie, during our junior year of high school. After graduation we would be attending schools 4 hours apart, presenting us with the challenge of a long-distance friendship. We were no longer a 5-minute drive from each other and school quickly interfered with our communication. During our first month at school, we struggled to keep in touch, and when we did, it obviously wasn't what we were used to. We finally decided to hop on a Facetime call, discuss our feelings, and brainstorm how our friendship could return to what it once was.
Many students experience similar situations to Melanie and me, but there are ways to avoid having a conflict with someone you’ve been so close with for so long. Over the past six months, our society has had to adjust to distant relationships and find ways to stay in touch. Zoom hangouts, picnics outside, sitting in separate cars, and similar activities have been some of the creative ways people are keeping up with their relationships. Still, there’s more to friendships than hanging out in person; the most important thing you can do to keep up with old friends is to simply make time. Aim to connect virtually every week or so with each other for an amount of time that works for all parties. In addition to getting on a Zoom call, becoming pen pals or sending each other small notions can also let someone know you're thinking of them. This can be as easy as a $5 Venmo gift for coffee or an electronic gift card to their favorite store.
Keep in mind that school is not all year, and there will be breaks. Before breaks take place, it never hurts to lay out plans to see your hometown friends in advance. Breaks could also be spent traveling to other locations together, or to see each other in your respective towns. It gives you something to look forward to, making it that much more exciting!
Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel. If you have doubts or worries about your friendships, talk things out in hopes of finding a solution and aim to get on the same page with each other. Communication is SO important in every aspect of your life, and it can help grow any long-distance friendship that may face hardship in these uncertain times! Good luck this year, and tell your friends you love them!
Lilli (MC ‘19)