Everyone knows that going to college comes with many new, exciting experiences to look forward to. However, parts of leaving home and your high school life behind can be bittersweet. One of the most difficult aspects, for many, is leaving behind the circle of friends that helped you get through everything up until now. Whether you had a select few best friends or a bigger circle of gal pals, making an effort to stay in touch with them while away at school will help sustain, and even grow, those relationships over time. Having friends who can give you some outside perspective and provide a little piece of home can give you comfort when you need it most in your collegiate life — no matter where that may be.
1. Remember to Call or Video Chat
An easy way to see how your friends are doing at school is with a simple phone call or FaceTime. This can be a great activity to do during a study break, or maybe right before you go to bed, after a busy day. In addition, physically seeing your friend or hearing their voice can be much more personal than just texting, which we tend to do in between commitments in our crammed schedules. Taking the time to actually call or video chat a friend during the week, even if only for 10 minutes, will prevent you from letting the days or weeks pass without checking in with them. If you have a bigger circle of gals, the iPhone apps Houseparty and Oovoo make it easy to video chat with multiple people at a time.
2. Keep the Group Chat alive
If you had a groupchat in high school, what better way to stay in touch with your friends than continuing it in college! This is an easy way to see what everyone else is up to at school if you had a larger group of friends (and that way it does not get overwhelming trying to contact everyone separately). Not only can you keep each other in the loop about updates on your own life, but also on other people you may have known in high school or back home. Sometimes the group chat can provide comic relief when you are dealing with the stresses of college. Cue the hilarious memes, Snapchat screenshots, and pictures taken during your high school years together.
3. Send care packages
Whether it’s their birthday, a holiday, or “just because,” sending your friends a care package is a great way to let them know that they are in your thoughts. Who doesn’t like receiving packages? Especially when it has a selection of goodies handpicked by a close friend! Some ideas of what to include in a SLU-inspired box: a Pub Cookie, a t-shirt, a beverage holder from Brewer Bookstore, SLU stickers, and a handwritten note. You can also add some extra small items such as microwaveable popcorn, candy, bags of tea, coffee K cups, gum, nail polish, hair/face masks, a new book, a package of new pens, etc- the options are endless. Be sure to check Pinterest for some great ideas too!
4. Or even mail a simple letter!
Many people forget about the art of a handwritten letter. Whether you want to write a long one about fun memories from your friendship, include old pictures, or get crafty and use colored pens and markers, your small gesture will brighten up your friend’s day when she opens it.
5. Give them some love on their birthday
Post an instagram of your favorite picture of you and your friend, give them a phone call, and send a yummy birthday gift (Baked by Melissa’s or Shari’s Berries are always great options), anything that you know will make your friend’s day even more special!
6. Schedule a get together over school breaks
Nothing makes going home for break more exciting than knowing you will get to see all of your friends from high school again. Make sure you put together plans ahead of time, because before you know it your squad will all have to fly or drive back to their own campuses again (and college vacations during the year are few and far between). You can make a lunch or dinner reservation at a nicer restaurant, go to a concert, or even host a movie night with take out at your house to see your girlfriends! If you’re 21 or over, you could also consider a night out on the town at your favorite bars or a cozy evening in to catch up over a bottle of wine.
7. Visit each other at school
It is always fun to see your friends while you are back home, but it’s a totally different experience going to another college campus. If you plan on visiting a friend for the weekend or they are coming to stay at SLU, make sure you show them all of your favorite spots around campus and introduce them to people. Maybe even go to a sports game or the Tick Tock with them to show what life is like at a school other than their own!
8. Keep pictures and mementos around your room
Sometimes we go through stressful times at college or days where we just aren’t feeling it. The homesickness can strike pretty seriously at any of these moments, but the best thing to do is to surround yourself with pictures or keepsakes of your high school friends that will make you smile and laugh (i.e class photos, prom pics, candids, etc.). These will also serve as a great reminder to do any of the above suggestions when you miss your friends! Don’t forget: you will meet some amazing people and make new friends here at SLU, but you will also always have close friendships back home if you put the effort into sustaining them!