Sometimes, starting a new college means leaving behind your parents, your best friends, your significant other, your pet, and a whole lot of other people who have been part of your life for years.
While you will meet tons of new people at your school and connect in new ways, that doesn’t mean that they have to replace your old support system. There are dozens of ways to stay in touch with loved ones while you’re in college. Here are some examples of how you can tackle the distance:
1. Set up a Talk Time
Set up a time in advance that is dedicated just to catching up. This can be on a certain night of the week, or even a specific time each day. By setting up a time in advance, you’ll have something to look forward to throughout your week.
Setting a specific time makes that Talk Time special. You know that’s a time of day that you and your loved one reserve for each other. For this to work, it’s important to be disciplined about keeping the date, or at least letting your friend or family member know in advance if you need to cancel.
Sometimes, you just miss seeing a person, and now there is so much technology that helps you interact virtual-face-to-virtual-face with people who are far away. Free programs you can use on your computer, like Skype or Google Hangout, can help you video chat. Skype even includes a component where you can add credit to your account and call international numbers for local rates. You can also use video chatting tools on your phone, like FaceTime, to incorporate video chatting into your catching up.
3. Share Experiences
Now that you’ve got the tools for some virtual bonding, you can be creative about it. You and your significant other can watch a movie at the same time and share the experience as you video chat. You and your friends can all try cooking a new recipe together and see who can do it fastest over a Skype call. Give your parents a tour of your dorm room (but maybe clean up first).
Video chatting doesn’t just mean sitting in front of a computer or phone, not moving. Give your conversation some personality!
4. Keep a Blog Together
Her Campus writers suggest keeping a blog with your friends. There are lots of user-friendly websites, like Wordpress or Blogger, that can allow you to collaborate on a blog together. You can post pictures or snippets whenever you feel like, and have a virtual scrapbook documenting your collective experiences by the time you’re done with the semester!
5. Keep Track of Dates and Times
Is your parents’ anniversary coming up? Is your best friend’s job interview just around the corner? Keeping a calendar with important dates in your loved ones’ lives can help you send meaningful messages. A small “How was your test today?” message can mean a lot to a friend that’s miles away.
If you’re keeping in touch with people in different times zones, make sure you’re spreading the love at the appropriate time. Setting up an alternative clock on your computer or phone can help you avoid a text at 4am London time.
6. Snail Mail Surprises
Getting a postcard or care package in the mail is the best feeling! Sharing is caring, so brighten up a friend or family member’s day with a surprise. Sending some balloons, confetti, and candy for your sister’s birthday can make her feel like you’re just down the hall in your old room.
If you find yourself waiting by an empty mailbox day after day, there is no shame in asking for what you want. Tell you aunt to send a batch of her delicious cookies or your friend to mail you that book she can’t stop telling you about.
You can even get creative with it and send a loved one a disposable camera, with instructions to send the developed pictures back once he or she finishes the roll.
7. Arrange a Visit
Once in a while, you and your friends can arrange a visit at one another’s colleges. Use a long weekend to stay at your friend’s dorm, or host him or her on your own campus. If you’ve been keeping in touch, you or your friends will get to see what you’ve all been talking about for weeks and months.
Communication is Key
Just because you’re far away doesn’t mean that your relationships have to wither. Keep them healthy with a good dose of communication. And remember, summer and winter breaks are a great time for having a reunion right at home!
Saunders, E. (2013, November 26). 8 Tips for Keeping in Touch. Retrieved August 11, 2014, from Huffington Post
Threet, S. (2012, August 13). So Long High School, So Long Besties?: How to stay in touch with your High School BFFs in College. Retrieved August 6, 2014, from Her Campus