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How to stay close with friends from home

As I tossed my hat in the air on graduation day, I squeezed my best friend’s hand, unable to avoid the undeniable truth: today marks the end of an era. There would be no more stuffing our faces with raw cookie dough while watching hours of standup comedy every weekend. No more Cookout milkshakes after Friday night football games. No more lazy days spent swapping favorite books by the pool. Although we were parting ways for college, luckily for me, graduation day didn’t mark the end of a friendship.

College is a time of personal growth and discovery, so it may seem impossible to imagine not having your best friends by your side along the way. But don’t worry — fashions, crushes, study habits and hobbies will change, but a true friendship can withstand the pressures of college.

Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with best friends, soul mates, family members and acquaintances. Scrolling through a newsfeed instantly provides a brief look into the lives of people we haven’t seen in months. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter will allow you and your friends to stay in touch with minimal effort. Although social media helps keep us in touch, don’t let phone calls become a lost form of communication. Suggest to your best friend that you call or FaceTime each week. If it’s important, you’ll both carve out time to chat. This will give you the opportunity to catch up in depth … without a 140-character limit.

Don’t be afraid to go visit your friends, either. Although it may seem intimidating to hang out with your high school best friend and his or her new crew, make an effort to visit. This will allow you the opportunity to see college through your friend’s eyes and bring you two closer together as you share and compare experiences. Take note of what is going on in your friend’s life even when you aren’t there. Is your friend stressed about a test? Going through a breakup? Preparing for recruitment? Taking time to connect on a deeper level will help maintain the trust and companionship you established during high school.

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It’s also important to remember the effects these life changes will have on you and your friend. As you adjust to college life, your interests might shift and beliefs may alter — and that’s okay. Preparing yourself for the possibility of these changes will help you remain understanding. Remind yourself that the amount of effort you put in to maintain a friendship will determine how close the two of you remain.

However, as difficult as it may seem, don’t forget to live in the moment. If you’re always talking to your high school friends, you might miss out on making memories with the people around you. Who knows? You might become as close with them as you are with your high school friends.

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