The clock reads 11:29 p.m. as I sit on my bed proofreading a 16 page senior paper for one of my best friends, wondering what our lives are going to be like after he graduates. The month of May creeps closer along with the ominous and exciting day for nearly every senior college student: graduation day.
For graduating seniors, this day marks their freedom and accomplishments as they head off into the “real world” to get a job or apply to grad school. But for the friends and family members of graduates, this is ultimately a day of goodbyes.
Knowing that some of my own friends will be moving away in the next month or so, I began asking people how they maintain long-distance friendships beyond college. I was assured that there are many ways to keep in touch with long-distance friends.
Although this may seem a little outdated, picking up the phone and calling someone is still one of the most effective ways to quickly get in touch. Since video chatting platforms often have a bit of a lag, a phone call can be an easy fix. Plus you don’t need speedy internet service to have a conversation.
“I pretty much call my parents weekly, maybe even daily,” said 21-year-old Sam Lomanto. Originally from California, Lomanto attends college in Illinois and said, “It’s just nice to keep in touch, especially when I’m gone for four-plus months.”
“Most of my friendships are long-distance actually. Skype is my favorite way to keep in touch,” said 21-year-old college student Sara Hyneman. She also noted that Skype is easy because “you can IM anytime or video chat.”
Video chatting is free and easy as long as you and your friend have accounts on the same platform and have a good internet connection. There are many different platforms that you can use to video chat for free such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Snapchat, and FaceTime.
Twenty-year-old Haley Magruder also keeps in touch by video chatting: “I have a specific time each week where my sister-in-law FaceTime’s me so I can see my nieces and nephews. She sends me picture updates too.”
After asking several people what is their favorite way to maintain long-distance friendships, Snapchat seemed to be the most popular.
“It’s noncommittal,” said 22-year-old Sara Lewis. “You can be aware of each other’s life without long conversations. It’s the chillest mode of communication.”
Snapchat is all about fast and brief communication. You can send your friends a picture or video which they can view for ten seconds or less before it disappears. If you want a slightly more in-depth conversation, you can also send written messages through the app, or you can use it to video chat.
2016 college graduate Allie Tonsor said, “Snapchat is an easy and fast way to keep up every day. My friends and family like the pictures to see what I’m doing.”
“And email!” said Tonsor’s friend Morgan Baldner. “Allie and I try to email each other when we don’t have time to talk on the phone.”
If you and your friend are old-fashioned or you just like getting mail, try sending letters to one another.
“I have a friend in France and Canada and we write letters every so often. #OldSchool,” said 20-year-old Kara Aldridge-Folger.
A fun twist on sending letters through the mail is sending the same journal back and forth so that you can look back on each other’s letters. Save money on postage by sending the journal using media mail rates.
* * * *
Whether it be a phone call, video chat, snap, email, or letter, staying in contact with your best friends or family members can be done. No one form of communication is perfect for everyone, so try a couple to figure out which one works best for you. Although you and your friend might not communicate everyday, any of these methods can help you maintain long-distance friendships in college and beyond!