Can You Stay Friends Once You’ve Gone Away to College?

So you’ve finally been accepted to a college away from home and are excited about all the new experiences you are about to have. But what about your friends back home? Leaving the place in which you grew up to go to school out-of-town can be a sad time as friendships don’t always survive long-distance relationships. Luckily, with technology and a little persistence, “goodbyes” can become “see you laters.”

Social networking can be a distraction when you are studying for your degree but if you really want to stay in touch with friends back home, you don’t want to disappear offline completely. The key is finding the right balance. Schedule a time for yourself to update your Facebook status, Tweet, or post to any other social network to ensure you’re still in contact with your old chums. By giving yourself a specific time, say once a day in the evening, you won’t fall into the trap of chatting all day long with your old friends and neglecting your new ones, (not to mention your school work!).

Take time to visit home if you can. Holidays and summers are when most students return to their parents’ homes. This time can be a whirlwind of visits with close relatives and of course you want to spend the most time with your immediate family. Plan a group night out so that you can see as many friends as possible in this short window. It will go by fast so trying to have one-on-one visits will be next to impossible.

One thing being away at college will teach you is who your real friends are. Through high school classes and part-time jobs, you can meet lots of people and they may seem like good friends. However, it’s when there’s a distance between you that you realize which relationships are worth keeping. Your friends have the option of reaching out to you too so if you stop hearing from someone once you’ve moved away, it may be time to let that friendship end on its own. Keeping real friends is challenging enough. You can ‘t hold on to all your old acquaintances once you’ve moved on in life.

Perhaps the toughest relationship to maintain by distance is a romantic one. Leaving your boyfriend or girlfriend to go study at a far-away college can be heartbreaking. If you’re young, it can be extra hard to keep the commitment alive. Remember that many people have several loves in their lives so this one may have just been the first. If it is meant to be you can make it work but if it becomes a real struggle, it might be time to move on.

It’s hard to lose old friends but college is about moving forward and expanding your horizons. There are hundreds of new people to meet and by the time you’ve finished your degree, you will probably have more friends than you can imagine. Once your time at college ends, you will probably go through the same process, as the new friends will likely live in disparate regions of the country. By now, you’ll probably have an easier time figuring out which are the keepers and which friendships will only survive during your college years.

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