You took the senior trip together, you spend every long summer day lounging by the pool together, and you shop for college supplies together. It seems like you and your besties have the strongest relationship and that nothing, not even going to college 2,000 miles apart, will break that bond…
…Nothing, that is, except a busy class schedule, making new friends, finding your way around town, stalking (in a totally non-creepy way) that cutie from bio and taking full advantage of your unlimited meal plan. With such a packed schedule, how’s a girl supposed to find time to Skype with, much less visit, her long lost BFF who is equally as busy? Collegiettes™ across the country agree, staying in touch with your high school friends means making time for them.
The summer before I left for college, I spent every waking moment with my three closest friends. One of them was attending the same college I would be in the fall, one was a rising senior in high school, and one would be finishing up one more year at a local college before transferring. I thought I couldn’t survive one day without talking to them, and when I first started classes, I texted or called them fairly often. But then I got busy with extracurriculars, schoolwork and finding time to sleep. I lost touch with them. Luckily, I have been able to get back on track with one friend, but the other graduated and moved to the city, and now I rarely talk to her. So how can you avoid making the same mistakes I did?
Meet Skype, your new BFF
For those of you who will be purchasing a laptop for college, downloading Skype is a great way to keep in touch.
Krista, a collegiette™ studying at Simmons, gave her secret on how she and her high school BFFs stayed close: “I actually stayed close with three of my best friends from high school. Which is really interesting since we all went to school in different places across the country. We basically just stayed close by Skyping and updating on each other’s life occasionally. Of course, we made new friends but we definitely made sure to keep in touch.”
The great thing about Skype is that you can chat with one, two, or multiple people at the same time through video conferencing. You can not only hear each other, but see each other as well, so it’s more like a face-to-face conversation. It’s like the cafeteria catch-up session you had every day in high school without the mystery meat! Choosing a specific time each week (or day, month, etc.) to Skype that works with everyone’s schedule and sticking to it is really important for keeping in touch. Think of the Skype date as you would think of any other plans you would make with your friends—make sure to keep them. Just because you’re chatting through a computer doesn’t mean it’s OK to break your plans.
Blog about it
If you think blogs are only for those who have something interesting to write about, you’re right! But luckily for you, your besties think the awkward conversation you had with your TA or the “genius” idea you came up with last night is interesting. Making a blog together allows each friend to write about her life and catch up on everyone else’s in her own time. Scheduling a Skype date with nine of your closest friends can be almost as challenging as figuring out a weekend to go home, but with a blog, you can catch up at 2 a.m. if you want.
Catherine, a Princeton collegiette™ said that a blog was just one of the ways she and her besties kept in touch. “My friends and I created a blog when we parted for college. Each of us posts a few times a month with little stories and updates of our lives. These posts allow us to update everyone in between Skype sessions and face-to-face hangouts over break, and I think it's really helped us stay connected to each other.”
There are several free blog services like Blogger and Wordpress that allow you and your pals to easily set one up. Whatever site you choose, make sure you set the privacy setting to where the only people who can read the blog are those whom you allow. Make sure to only give your friends the password so that no one else can read or post on your blog. Also, even if you have the strictest privacy settings, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want getting out—no racy pictures, no inappropriate ranting, and no gossip! If your blog gets hacked (or someone forgets to log out in the library), you want to be on the safe side with your content.
It’s the little things
Facebook stalking may seem like a small way of keeping in touch, but sometimes small things go a long way. Alexa, a collegiette™ from James Madison University, said that Facebook is a great way to stay connected. “Whenever I was bored or hadn't talked to them in a while I would shoot them a wall post or comment on a photo or something small that showed I was still thinking about them.” Leaving a simple, “Hey. Miss you. Have a great day!” voicemail on her phone is another great way of letting your BFF know that you’re thinking of her.
Another small way of keeping in touch is sending a card (yes, through the mail) to your friend wishing her good luck on her macro test or just to tell her you miss her. Sending mail is not only a great way to let her know you’re thinking about her, but it’s also a lovely way to brighten her day. My best friend from home sent me a card congratulating me on getting into an organization, and that card is still hanging in my room two years later. Little things like a card or a wall post are great ways to remind your besties that they are your besties, even if you’re miles apart.
Spending time with your high school besties during breaks is some of the best time to chill out after finals and catch up on everyone’s lives. Make a plan to meet up for dinner or go ice skating. Mandy, a University of Pittsburgh collegiette™ and her high school BFFs took full advantage of breaks. “We managed to stay friends by Skyping every once in a while, remembering to visit each other on breaks, but most importantly, we would always have sleepovers where the 7 of us would meet at our one friend's houses. We would watch movies, eat junk food and take turns catching the others up on everything that happened during the semester. All of us felt like we knew what was going on in each other's lives even though we weren't together.”
Visiting each other on campus is another great way of staying close because it allows your friends to see the people and places you talk about all the time. Finding time to visit might be a challenge, but Meghan, an Appalachian State University senior, said that campus visits are what helped her high school friends stay her friends after graduation.
“For me, inviting my high school friends up for visits - and visiting them on their campuses - was crucial. That way, your friends become part of your new life and you become part of theirs. When you tell each other stories, you know the people and places each other is talking about. And they can see and get used to the ways you've changed and the way you act in your new environment. I only did these mutual visits with two of my high school friends, and they're the ones I'm still close with today.” For a complete guide on what to do and what to avoid when visiting your friends’ campuses, check out the Her Campus etiquette guide for visiting and being visited.
Accept the changes
With high school friendships, only one thing is certain—they will change. You’re going to grow up and so are they, but that doesn’t mean your friendships can’t still be great. Meghan, who gave us great tips on campus visits, also spoke about the changes in your friendships: “Just realize that change doesn't have to be a bad thing! Your friendships may even be strengthened once you accept the inevitability that they're not going to be exactly the same as they were in high school.”
Setting up a weekly or monthly phone or Skype date that you never break is a nearly fool proof way to make sure you keep in touch. Moving off to college can seem exciting and scary, but knowing you always have your high school best friends waiting to hear about your new life and tell you about theirs makes the new experience seem a little less intimidating.
College women from across the country