Whenever, Wherever, We’ll Always Be Together?

Those super handy guide books on moving to university are fantastic when you have no clue what you’re doing. They provide you with lists to ensure an easy student life, like buying that really useful spiralizer that your flat-mate has only ever used like, twice. What they forget to mention, though, is how to keep in touch with friends from back home. It’s easy to miss Skype calls when you have a mountain of work to complete, and you’re busy forging new friendships in your new town.

Take it from someone who, at 16, moved approximately 200 miles from a small Northern Welsh town for college, leaving behind my school friends who I promised to contact regularly. Slowly but surely, most of them slipped away, leaving behind only Facebook comments and empty promises to meet up when we were all back home. During the summer before moving to Glasgow for uni, I returned home for a few months, vowing to not let the same thing happen again when heading off to uni. Unfortunately, though, it did, and over a year later I’m left with just one friend back home who I talk to regularly. Props to us. This isn’t uncommon though, so if you’re worried this might happen to you, here are some ideas to try and prevent it:

  1. Schedule Skype/Facebook calls. If you’re all struggling to find the time to catch up, then compare timetables and find a time to chat every week or so. Don’t repeat my mistakes by claiming you’ll Skype, but then forget because it’s 2.36am and you’re still reading about Marx’s persistent thoughts on capitalism and modernity (and he has a lot of them).
  2. Send postcards, chocolate, small weird items you find in Poundland, etc. – an easy and effective way of letting them know you exist and are thinking of them.
  3. If number 2 isn’t for you, just buy them a life-size cardboard cut-out of yourself for Christmas. Or anything you can put your face on really, so they’re always reminded of how great you are.

The friends you make at university are probably great, but the ones you made at school can be just as important. Long distance friendships can work; they just need a little effort.

[Courtney Hughes – @iliveonwifi]

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