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While promoting life-long friendships, college challenges childhood relationships

College tests. No, I don’t mean the exams that we take periodically throughout the semester. While those, of course, qualify as tests, more specifically I refer to the tests that are not listed on a syllabus at the beginning of the semester.
I mean the tests that we cannot plan or prepare for: the tests of friendship that everyone inevitably faces in college that decide who will continue playing a role in your life and those who might just fade away.
Coming to college, especially coming from far away, it can be difficult to keep in touch with high school friends. You end up at different schools on different schedules, or even in different time zones, making the high school schedule sound more attractive now that you don’t have the convenience of all your friends doing the same thing every day.
Then of course, you need to focus on making new friends and trying new activities at college. It becomes frustrating. Can’t everyone just stay in the same place and not change for once? Keeping in touch with old friends gets put on the back burner.
Everyone says they will be in touch whether it is through Facebook, texting, Skype or phone calls. We have so many forms of potential communication that it’s almost overwhelming, but not everyone actually uses them no matter how easy it is.
Maybe because people are at our fingertips we think we do not need to make an effort to maintain friendship. However, I do realize that it may not be easy to start a conversation with someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
It may be even less easy to keep people on your radar when you don’t live with them or see them almost every day.
I think the test of college says a lot about your friendship. The people who you stay in touch with over the expanse of time and space should be considered important people in your life.
I admire those who are still friends with people from childhood, especially when it hasn’t been all that convenient. I hope to be the same way, especially when I spend time away from campus myself. This is not to say, though, that if you haven’t talked to someone in a while, that you can’t still be friends. I am grateful for the friends who make an effort to contact me when I have been seemingly missing in action for weeks—or even months. Getting an actual phone call from my friend who is currently in South Africa made me smile for the rest of my day, even if it made me miss her that much more.
A Facebook message from another friend in Spain allowed us to update each other on everything going on in our lives. It didn’t matter that we had not talked in a couple months.
I was so happy to hear from someone who has been my friend the longest, through each and every awkward stage in our preteen years.
When I get these messages, small reminders of just how awesome my friends are, I feel a little guilty for not reaching out to them sooner. Why haven’t I corresponded as diligently as I planned?
Maybe it’s because I become discouraged with keeping in touch with this friend, or frustrated at how that friend changed or just didn’t think that so-and-so really wanted to hear from me anyway.
I heard once that people can only really maintain six friendships at once. Now that’s a pretty depressing statistic. If this is the case then how would any of us have friends both from high school and from college, let alone the other life experiences we have?
In actuality, staying in touch with people comes down to a simple choice of whether or not you decide to take the five minutes to write out a quick Facebook message or—even less time—text.
In doing so, you might realize just how much you actually miss your friend in the first place. And chances are that they will be just as thrilled to hear from you.
So go make a phone call, send a text or maybe even write a letter to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Be happy that you have this opportunity to talk to them even if it seems awkward or out of the blue. It might be the most refreshing thing you’ve done in a while.

Mary McDermott is a junior English major from Westborough, Mass. She can be reached at mmcderm5@villanova.edu.

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