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Miss Your High School Friends? How To Stay In Touch Once You Get To College

One of the most difficult parts about moving away for college, especially as an incoming freshman, may be leaving behind your hometown and the people you have grown up with, while dealing with emotions that arise with missing your high school friends. In a new environment, it may be intimidating to meet new people, and all you want is for your best friend from elementary school to be right by your side.

However, meeting new people and making your friends is also one of the best parts about college. You’re going to meet new people from various backgrounds who may end up being your lifelong friends. But while it is vital to make new friends in college, it is equally as important to keep your hometown friends near to you and to keep fostering those relationships even from a distance. Here are four tips for what to do when you miss your hometown friends.

Schedule FaceTime calls.

Whether it be once a week or once a month, scheduling time to talk to one another is vital. The call doesn’t have to be long, either — 10 minutes as you’re doing your makeup to catch each other up on your days will suffice. 

Sadé, 21, tells Her Campus, “To me, having a little piece of home with you everywhere you go is so so important. Your hometown friends are your home. All of my hometown friends and I go to college in different states, yet we still Snapchat and FaceTime. There’s something comforting about that.” It’s important to remain up to date in each other’s lives, so you don’t feel so out of touch with one another.

Molly, 21, adds, “I moved in the middle of my senior year, and I haven’t seen one of my best friends in two years. But we still talk all the time over Snapchat, FaceTime and texts, and even though I haven’t seen her, whenever we talk, it’s like we’ve never been apart.” Knowing what your friends’ daily routines consist of, like what classes they have that day, may help you to feel more connected to your friends’ new lives. When it comes to conversations between long-distance friends, it’s about quality, not quantity. 

Write each other letters.

This is old-fashioned, but writing and mailing each other handwritten letters is a great way to show someone that you love them, especially because the art of handwriting notes has slowly disappeared due to technology. Sending your hometown friends a letter lets them know that you’re thinking of them despite the distance separating you from them. 

That reminder of your support for them may mean more than you know. Rylie, 22, tells Her Campus, “It’s always good to have a support network made up of friends you can count on — people that’ll stick with you through anything and everything. The best part about long-distance friendships (aside from reuniting with them after a long time apart, of course) is that you and your besties can be living as far apart as possible but still have a strong connection and understand each other like no one else can.” 

Cards can be more sentimental than a call or text, and it shows that you went the extra mile to buy a card, write a note, and mail it. Cards are also great because you’re able to keep them forever, and you can reread them whenever you want. You may write about how your week was or how much your friend means to you. Places like Target or ban.do sell cute stationery supplies if you want to get fancy with your letter-writing. 

Surprise each other with a gift.

Sending each other gifts out of the blue is also a great way to remind your friends that you’re thinking about them. Brandee, 20, tells Her Campus, “It’s nice to have a small piece from home to always go back to … It brings you back to your roots and you’re always able to bond over your past high school experience and also share new ones that you experienced individually at different schools.” 

You can send your friend a set of face masks or a care package while they’re in the midst of finals to show them that you’re supporting them. Another great option is to send them a $5 gift card on a random morning to buy them coffee. Surprising each other doesn’t have to include spending money, either. You may also surprise them by sending a cute GIF in the morning or calling them randomly to wish them good luck on their exam.

Talk to your college friends about how you’re feeling.

When you’re really struggling with missing your hometown friends, talk to your college friends about how you feel, because there’s a good chance that your college friends are experiencing the same feelings. Talking about your feelings with other people reminds you that you aren’t the only one who feels a certain way, and you may not feel so alone. 

Jody Dianna, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with college students, tells Her Campus, “Our brains crave sameness and familiarity. While it is great to move off and try new things in new places, the acclimation period can eventually wear on us. If we are constantly meeting new people and finding new routines, our stress hormones are more active, and that can become taxing. Conversations with someone that has a shared understanding with you is actually relaxing to the parts of us that have been working overtime getting used to college. Think of it as a dose of relaxation and an investment in your energy to keep going.”

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about missing your old friends to your new ones, reach out to your RA because most likely, they’re familiar with assisting their residents who are dealing with similar emotions. This will also remind yourself that while you may have amazing hometown friends, you have equally as amazing new friends to surround yourself with.

If you’re struggling, keep reminding yourself that you are trying your best, and that in and of itself is amazing and commendable. It requires a lot of strength and resilience to move away from home and make new friends, and while it may appear to come naturally to a lot of your peers, many people struggle with making new friends and missing their old ones. Remember to be receptive to and excited about new experiences and meeting new people.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Nikki is a senior at LMU from Honolulu, Hawai'i and is majoring in Communications Studies with minors in Journalism and Health and Society. She is also the president of Her Campus LMU.