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Staying in Touch with Old Friends

A new semester means a fresh start, and a perfect time to forge new friendships. But what about those friends you left back home? What about the gals (and guys) you spent high school years and lazy summers with, talking about what you would do once you got to college?
If you’re like me, you had at least two or three close friends you’d consider family. My girls and I were super close; we hung out after school, had summer jobs at the same retail store, and did just about everything together. So once we moved away to separate colleges in different cities and, in one case, different states, we had to make a conscious effort to stay in touch.
With social media and the Internet, communicating from different places couldn’t be easier. I learned pretty quickly though that some methods were a little better than others. Here are a few of the lessons I learned about staying in touch with my friends once I started college.

Facebook can be a help… 

Facebook is one of the easiest ways to keep communication flowing between you and the ones you care about. For many, Facebook is a tool used to chronicle every moment of their lives, from the great (“I just got an A on my first exam!”), the ugly (“Did I really just lose my dorm key again?”), and everything in between. If you’re looking for a way to stay up-to-date with the daily happenings of your friends’ lives, then Facebook is the way to go.

… but also a hindrance.
I think we’re all guilty of this from time to time- the Facebook stalk. I know it’s really easy to go from commenting on one status to spending thirty minutes clicking through your friend’s photo album of pictures from last weekend’s tailgate. I get it. It’s the slippery slope of social media.
But it’s one thing to know what your friends are up to, and another to live someone else’s life through a computer screen. And if you find yourself knowing more about your friends’ adventures than experiencing new ones of your own, then you may be dwelling too much in the past and not embracing the future fun and friendships ahead of you.

Snail mail is still pretty cool (and your friends will love it!)
I’m not suggesting you break out the old quill and inkpot on this one, but there’s something special about receiving unexpected mail. It can be as simple as a birthday card you created on your computer to gifting a free t-shirt you picked up in West Mall. Snail mail shows you really thought about someone- and you cared enough to take time to visit the post office.

Sometimes all it takes is a text or two. 

Keep it simple. If you see something during the day that reminds you of someone, let them know!
 
You have to make an effort to stay in touch.
I understand that this seems a little obvious. Let me explain.
At this point in the semester, you’re feeling the full stress load of college life. You’re probably running around campus all day, going from class to organization meetings to study groups to work to… well, your life is busy! Schedule a specific time each week or month to talk if you have to. Maybe you want to Skype on the weekend. Perhaps you prefer a phone call to vent in the middle of the week, whatever works for you. Just don’t put your friends on the back burner because you feel like you don’t have time. A little effort goes a long way.

And lastly…
Its ok to make new friends and keep old ones too.
Life doesn’t start over just because you’re in college. You’re allowed to keep old friends in your life. Just don’t close yourself off to new ones- because the more people you have in your life that truly care about you, the better your college experience will be.

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