How to maintain friendships in college

Danielle Rallo, a public relations major and senior, is a Diet Coke addict, avid beach go-er, and your typical high energy New Yorker. Hailing straight from Long Island, and a student at the University of Rhode Island, you could call this girl an “island hopper.” In her free time you’ll find Danielle watching The Food Network, riding her bike or doing, in their opinion, ridiculously hilarious things with her friends. She is set to graduate December 2014, and hopes to work at a PR firm in New York City directly after. As a consistent member of her school’s Dean’s List, and with a passion for public relations, she is excited to see what this new chapter in her life holds!

Oh no—it’s happening. The one thing you promised yourself wouldn’t, you start losing touch with your beloved friends from home. Either you, your friends, or maybe both, went away to college to lead these new lives you’ve dreamed about. We all have had at least one friend—Somebody we hugged, promised we’d stay in touch with, and cried our eyes out with as we said goodbye (probably a little harder than we would like to admit).

For many, this was an inevitable stage of life. You’re now onto different paths from the people you once knew to be your closest and dearest friends thus far. However, for many like me, the anxiety of losing these close bonds does not sit well. Now, as a senior in college, I can successfully say, that although I’ve made life-long friends in college, I’ve also maintained my “best-friendships” with my hometown pals. Can you do this too? Sure, it’s easy.

We can all agree that group chats are not everyone’s cup of tea, they can get pretty annoying. Actually when I see a new group text on my phone there’s a good chance I can get notably angry, especially when I walk out of class with sometimes 250+ messages (this is not an exaggeration). However with new updates on the iPhone like the “do not disturb” feature, and apps like GroupMe, keeping up with that group of friends can be easy and not such an inconvenience. Also, be positive when looking at group chats. For me, my group text has been a source of entertainment. With all the stories of the ridiculous things that happen to my friends in their college life, we constantly have out of the ordinary tales to laugh at, and simultaneously, feel an attachment to the lives and people our hometown friends have at their schools.

Second: schedule visits. I cannot express how important this is, and FUN. Visiting other college campuses are much like mini vacations away from everything. You get a taste of a whole new culture, and eureka, a free place to stay! For many people, especially freshman, I realize that transportation can be a little more problematic, but fear not, public transportation, such as busses and trains are pretty reliable in college towns. They can be reasonable in price especially when you plan in advance. These trips of weekend visits to my friends’ schools have made for hands down some of the best memories through my four years of school. So don’t wait people, get to planning!

My final piece of advice, is making the most of your school breaks. If you find yourself way too overwhelmed between school work, extra-curricular activities or whatever else you have going on to be able to keep “enough” contact with your home friends, start an annual tradition during breaks. It serves as a great time for catching up on your separate lives. If this becomes a tradition you are all aware of, other plans are likely not to get in the way. For example during both Thanksgiving and winter breaks, right before the holidays, my friends and I get together and have potluck dinners that include delicious [and probably really fattening] foods and wine—always wine. During this time there is so many laughs, shocking stories and a bunch of happiness.

If your friends from home mean enough to you, don’t let those valuable friendships slip by. I’m not going to say long distance friendships are simple, but hopefully my advice makes it a little easier.

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