For many people, being at school doesn’t necessarily mean being away from family. They commute, or their school is close to home. However, there are people like me too far from home to see family or hometown friends every weekend. I grew up three hours away, which is much different than across the country, but still requires going weeks or months without seeing family and friends that are close to my heart.
There are some ways to make this easier than constantly wishing for home, which is something I fall into sometimes when my bed and my dogs would be great comfort. The first thing I do is to make sure to call home at least once a week. It gives my parents some piece of mind (my dad once got worried when I didn’t call for 10 days) and lets me hear comforting voices and stories about people from home.
I also Skype people occasionally, although this is something I see my roommate doing all the time, so it’s definitely helpful if you have the time and technology.
I make sure to keep pictures and mementos that remind me of home on my walls and desk.
Lastly, I’ve taken to writing letters to grandparents, one of my uncles, and sometimes one of my cousins as a way to share what I’m doing and make sure they know I still value being related to them.
Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain high school friendships when college comes around, but I’ve learned that falling into social patterns with college friends and not the old high school ones is fine, as long as you remember to check in with the old friends. My two best friends are still from my hometown, one I met in preschool and one as a senior in high school, and we don’t talk all the time but are still there for each other and spend time together when I’m home.
Basically, one thing college taught me was that friendship really doesn’t mean seeing each other all the time and gossiping every day. It can live on for months with random texts asking for opinions on prom dresses or giving updates on sports, or even just sending pictures of llamas for fun.
And that’s a beautiful thing.