Staying Close With Your Undergrad Friends (in Grad School)
July 09, 2020
New chapters in life are always tough when it comes to maintaining friends, so here's some ideas on maintaining close-knit friendships from your undergrad into grad school.
During transitions from Elementary to Middle school, Middle to High school, and from High school to college, it's always tough to maintain good relationships with friends made in those times while also continuing on with your life and making brand new friends; it doesn't have to be so tough, though. With enough effort and will, you can keep great relationships going while starting new ones, no matter how far apart you all are physically.
Grad school, because of the specificity of certain programs within certain schools and universities, is often a time when many students move far away from their homes of origin, whether it be a different State, city, etc. Although the distance between friends may increase, that doesn't mean the relationship has to fall apart. Today, the most common way of communication between young people is often texting. That being said, definitely keep texting each other, whether if be in group chats, personal chats, or both! Talking (texting) like you always have will help to keep the friendship alive and allow it to continue to grow. And if you want to put in more effort, maybe call or FaceTime each other every once in a while; if you have a funny or dramatic story from your day, call up your pal(s) and tell them all about it! If something happened that day that made you even the least bit excited or happy, call em up just to tell them! I promise you, you're not bothering anyone!
Something my friends and I have gotten into doing a few times a month is that we'll all sit with each other on Google Hangouts and play Animal Crossing. Playing Animal Crossing isn't required, but the other half may be a good idea for some friend groups: a way to all get together in real-time and do activities together like normal. This idea could be applied to just sitting and taking with each other, watching a movie, etc. I believe there's even services that let you all watch the same movie at the same time! Doing activities together as close to normal as possible will help it feel like you all never had to leave each other!
Now this last idea I had is fairly old-school, but bare with me: writing letters. This practice has obviously gone out of style, but that may make it feel all the more special. These little tokens of appreciation can honestly mean the world to someone; I sent a lot of the professors from my undergrad who impacted me the most letters of appreciation and gratitude, and they emailed me saying how much they loved them. Today, the act of writing someone a letter carries more meaning and weight, as you sat down and took the time to not only write to them, but to also pass along a little token of love or appreciation that often doesn't come with sending a quick text; it's the time and effort out into it that helps letters hit home.
Dramatic changes in our lives, especially when they involve our friends and having to leave them behind physically, often cause unwanted stress and fear; however, that can be reduced greatly by taking the time out of your day to interact with everyone, even when you're miles and miles away. Keep in contact with your friends and show your love for them, because just because you're starting a new chapter in life, doesn't mean the last can't continue on into it.
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