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The transition into college can be very difficult in many ways, and it is ten times harder without your friends by your side. The people that you've been used to seeing every single day for the past four years is suddenly miles away. Combined with all of the other new things that college throws at you, you might feel overwhelmed or lost, and that's completely normal! Your friend group in high school gave you a sense of familiarity, and even though you might not physically see them, that doesn't have to mean that you can't stay close.  As someone whose best friend just moved out-of-state for college, here are the best tips I have for you on how to keep in touch and keep the connection alive.

Accept that things will be different

Distance will change your friendship, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. There's something about being hundreds of miles away from someone that can make or break your relationship with them. Holding onto the hope that things will stay the same for fear that you might lose your friend will just leave you disappointed when things inevitably change and tear you further apart in the end. My best friend and I knew that going from seeing each other every single day to only being to see each other over FaceTime for three months at a time would be a major adjustment. Because we went in with an open mind and without any expectations, we're closer than ever despite all the time we've spent apart.

Find ways to stay in touch beyond text

Text (and sending TikToks!) is a quick and easy way to keep in touch, but going from seeing each other all the time face-to-face to communicating solely through written messages will only serve to constantly remind you of the distance between you and your friend. Whether that's FaceTime, voice call or something else, finding ways to stay in touch in addition to text can help to make the gap feel a little smaller. In addition to FaceTime and voice calls, my friend and I have really liked sending voice notes because we find ourselves talking about the little things that we may have left out through text.

Send each other the occasional snail mail

I can guarantee you that your friend will appreciate the extra effort that you put into writing them a letter by hand and going through the whole process of sending it to them. It's just a little something that shows that you're thinking of them. If you want, you can also send them a little package or something they might miss from home. Whatever you send them, they will definitely appreciate the thought that you put into it.

Plan virtual hangouts

Just because you can't see each other physically doesn't mean that you can't hang out! When we were in the same town, my friend and I used to go to new coffee shops all the time and just chill. Although we haven't been able to go to any coffee shops lately, we've had countless coffee dates over FaceTime. One of our favorite pastimes has been to have movie nights or binge watch TV shows together. There are countless virtual movie services like Teleparty and Rabbit that have allowed us to grab a snack, hop on FaceTime and watch something together despite being miles apart. The possibilities for a virtual hangout are endless!

Make the most of the time you guys are back in town

Even though all of the tips above can really help to bridge the gap, nothing can replace actual face-to-face interaction. When you guys are both home, you can use the opportunity to spend some time with your friend and catch up on everything you’ve missed. While this is a great opportunity normally, the current pandemic can make seeing each other in person difficult. If you do decide to take the opportunity to see your friend, make sure you stay safe and distance. I did take the opportunity to see my friend when she came back home, and what we ended up doing was meeting up at a coffee shop and parking our cars next to each other so we could roll our windows down and talk. While it was disheartening that we couldn’t have the full experience of seeing each other in person, we know it’ll be worth it in the end when we beat this pandemic and can finally see each other again.

With everything going on, this is a really stressful time to be going into college, and not having your friends through it all can make it that much more difficult. It’s okay to branch out and form a new friend group, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t stay just as close with your old friends. Make the most of your college experience, and know that even though your friends may not physically be by your side, they will still be there to celebrate every single little victory. 

Hello! My name's Kirthi, and I'm studying Human Biology with minors in STEPP and French. In my free time, you can usually find me watching The Resident, listening to music, or out with friends.
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