The summer before college is bittersweet. There's no denying the excitement you and your friends feel as you prepare for college, but these emotions are tinged with apprehension, nostalgia, and maybe even regret, as you know you'll soon be forced to part ways with your best buds. Some friendships will fizzle over time, but it's more than possible to keep in touch despite living hundreds, even thousands of miles apart. The following are a few of the most useful tactics for maintaining strong ties with off-campus friends:
1. Video Apps
Skype, FaceTime, Snapchat ... today's best apps make it easy to keep up with your buddies' day-to-day affairs. Not only can you enjoy virtual face-to-face conversations, but you can also introduce your best friends to your roommate, show off your dorm's layout, or provide updates on your expanded wardrobe. These visual cues will help you feel more connected. If you and a group of close friends or family members wish to keep in touch, create a group Snapchat or take advantage of Snapchat's story feature (or similar Instagram stories). This approach allows you to maintain some semblance of privacy while still keeping those you love in the loop.
2. Create a Blog
Social media shoutouts are great, but sometimes it's fun to give a more intimate look at life in your new surroundings. You can accomplish exactly that with a personal blog in which you can share your favorite college happenings. This is your chance to be honest and open up about the personal discoveries that might not make the cut on Facebook or Instagram. Insights from your psychology class, feelings about life in a dorm — it's all worth recording. Your friends will appreciate your honesty, particularly if they're still in high school and not sure what to expect. If you already spend too much time writing for your classes, substitute blog posts with a vlog, featuring videos of you in your dorm or out and about on campus. This will require extensive editing, but if you're up to the challenge, you can accurately capture the essence of college life.
3. Snail Mail
Back in the day, lonely college students wrote long letters to their family members and best friends back home. The practice has largely died out, but a few students continue to invest in — and actually use — gorgeous stationery. Letter writing offers a more personal feel. It tells your loved ones that you still care and that you're still willing to go to some effort to get in touch. Remember to send a card for each friend's birthday; this small gesture could make an old pal's day.
4. Meet Halfway
You don't always want to drive to your friend's college, and not everybody can spare the time to visit you on campus. If you can't bear any additional time apart, try finding a location halfway between your colleges. This approach works best if you brought your car to school and live just a few hours away from your friends, as opposed to all the way across the country. From hiking trails to restaurants, there should be plenty of opportunities for off-campus fun and togetherness.
5. Plan the Ultimate Get-together for When You Return Home
Whether you head home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or summer, you'll find your schedule packed with family obligations and errands that can only be completed back home. Set aside a few hours (at minimum) for a party with your childhood friends and high school buds. You'll have plenty to discuss. If you're not one for texting or talking on the phone, you may quickly find that party planning makes it easier, as it reduces the need for idle chatter.
Leaving for college doesn't mean the end of your meaningful relationships. At University of the Cumberlands, we understand that this transition can be scary. That’s why we provide incoming freshmen with multiple opportunities to get acquainted with the campus, meet peers in your same shoes, and inform them of additional support resources as well as the perks of being a UC student, such as free laundry. We know leaving home, and everything you know, can be scary, but in this day and age, technology has made this transition much easier.