As the new school year starts and students everywhere are moving into campus, I can’t help but notice all of the pictures posted on my social media news feed of sad goodbyes and tearful moments being shared between friends. Going away to college DOES mean that you’re separated from your good friends, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in touch and talk daily! Who knows, maybe you can even visit your friend’s school on a free weekend and explore what their campus has to offer. It’s normal to be sad that you’re parting from your friends and even a little bit scary. Plunging into the unknown leaves a lot of uncertainties like who you’re going to be living with, if you’re going to fit in, if you’re going to like the campus, etc. A good thing to remember is that you’re going to meet new people and friends that will fill that empty void you may feel initially. Your new friends won’t be your friends from home, but they’ll probably be just as awesome. Go into the experience with an open mind and you’ll be surprised how many people you meet just in your first day.
As for staying connected with your BFF from home, there’s tons of technological advancements brought to us with this ‘digital age’ that allows us to stay connected, regardless of distance. If you need some ideas on how to stay connected, here’s a few popular ways to send the love:
Skype– This one should be obvious but if it’s not, I’d definitely think about downloading Skype to your laptop or computer. Skype allows you to video chat with anyone of your choosing and is free to use. If you want to add more people to any given video chat or make phone calls from your computer, you can purchase minutes for Skype that allow you to do so. If you just want to video chat with one person, the free version is great. You can even have multiple people on one call (without video) for free as well.
ooVoo– This is like an alternative to Skype, but it’s totally free. You can have video chats with more than two people at a time, and still buy extra minutes and packages if need be. ooVoo is awesome because it’s also an instant messaging program that lets you chat with up to 12 friends in any given conversation! This program is a bit less commercial than Skype, but still works just as well.
FaceTime– For those of you with Iphone (or Apple) devices, take advantage of using the FaceTime feature in your data plan. This is like an on-the go way to stay connected through video chat with the people you love. A quick goodnight, good morning or just a catch up session with your parents or friends are made super easy with FaceTime; all conveniently located on your cellphone or laptop.
Social Media and Email– This one isn’t as good as a live face-to-face interaction or video chat, but you can still stay completely updated with your loved one’s statuses, photo updates and comments with one another. Just knowing what they’re up to and being able to share photos and thoughts of your day will make you feel closer even if you’re far away.
Calls/Texts– This one is most likely something you’re doing anyways, but it’s important not to forget to do it often! Many students start calling and texting a lot in the beginning of their college experience because they’re far away and not totally comfortable with their surroundings just yet. Then, once they get comfortable and situated with their new life on campus, they forget to reach out to their family and friends as much. A simple call to say hello here or a 5 minute call to Mom and Dad before bed letting them know you’re still surviving will go a long way.
Arm.. pillow? If you’re one of those people in a long distance relationship, you can try this “innovative” hug-pillow, thing. It’s supposed to serve as a hug from the person you’re missing so you can feel like they’re still with you. I’m not sure how you’d wash it or if its limb goes numb after hours of you laying on it, but if you need an extra cuddle companion to get you by, the hug pillow might be good for you.
Remember too, that along with college come seasonal breaks where you get to venture home for a few days. Holidays are included in this as well, so most of your friends will be back at home the same time you are. This gives you something to look forward to and keeps your friendship stable. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!
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