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Dean of Students

Starting new friendships at college while maintaining old ones

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Jake Johnson/Photographer Maintaining long-distance friendships can be difficult while away at college. Making new friends at school is just as important as keeping old ones.

Jake Johnson/Photographer
Maintaining long-distance friendships can be difficult while away at college. Making new friends at school is just as important as keeping old ones.

There’s an old phrase that says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

One of the many fears a student faces when entering college is losing touch with the friends that he or she grew up with. However, many students have found it rather easy to keep their old friends while becoming closer to new friends at college.

Technology has opened the gates of communication and is a key contributor to keeping friendships tight today. Thanks to text messaging, video messaging and social media, it is almost as though old friends are not so far away after all.

Akilah Watts, a music therapy major working on her master’s degree, is two hours away from her friends at home. She relies on social media and phone calls to stay up to date with her pals back home. However, Watts said she still finds it more difficult to stay in touch as time passes.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a lot of my friends. I’m a masters student, so we’re a lot older, and we have our different responsibilities now,” Watts said.

Having different responsibilities is a common reason why long distance friends often seem to drift apart.

Janelle Winter, a senior family and consumer science major, believes that this is all a part of the maturing process in college. As students grow up and enroll in more challenging major classes, texting or posting a Facebook message becomes lower on the list of priorities.

Winter’s strategy toward keeping a close relationship with her friends from home is simple. She prefers quality over quantity, that is, to have a few close friends rather than a large group of acquaintances.

“I think with your best friends, no matter the amount of time that passes, if you get together again it’s like nothing ever changed,” Winter said.

While it is important to make new friends in college, friendships like the one described by Winter are also worth the effort to keep. Perhaps free a weekend to visit friends from home; whether that means traveling back to stay with the parents or visiting a different campus.

Maybe even ask your roommate if he or she minds if some friends come to stay for the weekend and show them around campus. Create a closer bond by letting them see your favorite places around the university.

A friendship that was formed at home usually shares a kind of bond that is irreplaceable. Sometimes when two people have grown up together, they truly get to know each other on a different level than anyone ever could. Friends like these do not grow on tress, so holding onto these friendships while at college is just as important as forming new ones.

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