Distant college friendships push friends to get creative with staying in touch

Jenny Adkins

Distant College Friendships Push Friends to Get Creative with Staying in Touch

Nick Moran

It’s become almost a ceremonial end to summer to see your social media feeds full of friends wishing each other farewell. Goodbye dinners and soppy hugs fill Snapchat stories as one by one, the friends you spent your summer with move off to their respective schools. 

In a world dominated by texts, it becomes second nature to keep in contact with the faces you spent your summer with over the phone, but people get busy, forget to reply and your conversations fizzle. That’s why the best relationships to return to are the ones you push beyond texts.

My dad would tell me stories about how the guys in his dorm would crowd around the floor’s only payphone and fight each other to plop in a quarter so they could spend time with their girlfriends through the chintzy plastic receiver. We have much better ways to keep in touch, so use them.

My go-to way to keep in touch with friends over long-distance is always a night of gaming. We take for granted how nice it is to do something with your friends beyond just talking. Being able to have something to show for your get-together – whether it be a team goal, digital conquest or a comical lack of any progress at all – gives us those inside jokes and moments to laugh about when we reunite next summer.

But if gaming isn’t your thing, take that same concept and apply it to something else. Google Hangouts and FaceTime let us share digital meals over hundreds of miles or get live reactions to Netflix shows you’re both watching together. 

When it’s late and your conversation is blowing up, dare to be bold and press the video call button in your Snapchat group chat. You’d be surprised who is willing to goof around on camera instead of hiding behind text in their pajamas. Those moments keep your friends alive rather than having them turn into just a phone number or profile picture. 

All of that aside, old-school can still be cool. For me, receiving a letter with my handwritten name on it always makes me excited, and that sentiment is shared by a lot of the people I talk to. Because of that, I went out and purchased a big box of envelopes and a roll of stamps from the Laker Store that I have ready for this school year. 

Nothing compares to knowing that your friend, family member or significant other took time to hand-write a letter and send it to you. I’d even bet that if they’re like me, they’ll keep their letter, brag to their roommates about it and reach out to you right away to carry on the conversation – maybe even with another letter. 

If you’ve spent a year at college already, you may already know what I mean, but for those of you venturing away from your friends for the first time, I promise you that it’s worth the extra effort. We live in a world that’s constantly adding ways to keep people together, so keep your phones close and your friends closer.