One of the main reasons that college is intimidating to its newest arrivals is distance. Home is where we have family, friends, pets, significant others, jobs, and other aspects that have molded our lives for the past 18 years. Leaving for colleges means traveling far away from that familiarity.
Many incoming college students fear losing the relationships they have formed back home, myself included when I moved onto the CNU campus a year ago. Although there was a major learning curve, I have maintained super close long-distance relationships with my best friend and my boyfriend, who both live two hours away from me now.
Here are some tips I learned along the way to help you stay close to your loved ones from home
- Take lots of photos and videos when you’re together.
Whether this be before you leave or whenever you visit, make sure to record a bunch of happy moments to look back on. Take pictures, print them out, and hang them in your dorm room. Post silly videos on your Snapchat story and save them to your memories. Whatever your style is, try to collect those moments while you’re with your loved ones.
- Schedule phone and FaceTime calls.
While this can be hard to maintain during busy college days, having a call schedule can be incredibly helpful in maintaining long-distance relationships. Setting time aside specifically dedicated to catching up with your partner, for example, gives both parties something to look forward to!
- Communicate digitally through various platforms.
Speaking of cell phones and social media, one way I personally have felt very connected to the people I miss from home is by interacting through all different kinds of apps. Obviously, we text and call our loved ones all the time, but let’s be honest — sending memes is our generation’s version of communication. I love when my BFF, for example, sends me something funny on Instagram because it reminds me of our jokes!
- Keep your individual life busy.
Get involved on your college campus. Join clubs, dive deep into classes, try a sport…the list goes on! Find activities that you enjoy to occupy your time, so that you’re less likely to spend your time thinking about how much you miss your family. Before you know it, you’ll be telling them all about how much fun you’re having on campus!
- …But try to have interests in common to talk about.
If you can share a hobby with someone you miss from home, it will always be an instant conversation-starter, not to mention a great way to feel connected! For example, my boyfriend and I both enjoy exercising, so we often talk about how our gym sessions went each day. Pick anything you enjoy; it could be reading, watching movies, volunteering, etc. This is a super easy way to bond when you’re miles apart, because it feels like you’re doing your “thing” together.
- Plan your next visit, but also enjoy creating new relationships on campus!
Always try to have a next visit with your family, BFF, or partner in the works, and get excited for the reunion! However, even though we may miss our loved ones from home, we need to remember to be grateful for new friends and nourish those relationships. Your college friends are most likely going to be your friends for life, so make sure to start creating those relationships as soon as you can.