On Distances


One of the most exciting events of our adolescence – going away to college – is not only the first step towards our career; it is also a big step away from people we’ve always cared about. Moving to another city, state or even country usually means that we will only be able to connect to our friends and family through telephone, social media or, in an old-fashioned way, through handwritten letters. Even though it seems easy to send a message or give a call to someone special, sometimes we get so busy or so sucked in into our everyday routine that we disregard our desire to connect to those we love. Then, in addition to the distance (in miles) that is already there, we create an invisible barrier between us and those who are “back home.” Here are some tips to keep your friendship and family ties strong if you feel that the distance prevents it from happening:

1. For each significant person, find the most convenient time when you both are available. Even if you are extremely busy with homework, sometimes 10 minutes a week is enough to remind yourself and the person that you are still in touch and that he or she is important to you, no matter how far away you are.

2. Keep you family and friends informed about what is going on in your life. It often happens that if you don’t talk on a regular basis, when you asked “what’s new,” you have so many events on your mind that you have no idea where to start. Lost in the labyrinths of your thoughts, you usually mumble “nothing, all the same,” which disconnects you even more from the people you used to be so close to. From my own experience, after two of my high school girlfriends visited me in New York, it was easier to tell them about my life because they had a clear image of what New York is like. They also knew people I communicated with, school I went to and jobs I had. If your friends can’t visit, describe it to them or send pictures. They will learn something new, and you will have a chance to share your worries and joyful moments. At the same time, the virtual distance between you and those people will shrink. It also helps to discuss something that is equally available to you and them, for instance, watch the same movie and talk about it. It will bring you closer.

3. Find the cheapest way to connect with those you love. Sometimes calling or messaging your relatives and friends costs more than you can pay (especially if they are abroad). Therefore, for you, a student always concerned with student savings, it is often an issue to  give a call to someone if it costs you just as much as a dinner. Research online about student discounts available or ask your peers about how they solve similar problems. One of good ways to call internationally, for example, is through skype. You can connect with your family for free – if they have a computer with skype downloaded on it. Don’t let the price of communication cost you losing the connection with people you love.

4. Determine where you feel comfortable to talk or message your family or friends. Don’t e-mail or text anybody while you’re in class. It will distract you from what the professor is saying, and it will also prevent you from being fully with the person you’re messaging to. Your texts will be dry and short, and you will most likely quickly forget what the conversation was about. Multitasking is not a great way to shorten the distances. Also, if you have roommates, your conversation may not be private if they are listening to it. Try to find a place where you can talk freely about what worries or excites you, as this is what actually makes you feel like you’re still with those people no matter how big the distance is.

5. And finally, remember: it’s totally up to you to make the distance bigger or smaller. But your family is always your family, and your best friends are people who know you more than anybody, and these connections are valuable. There will be a day when you come back home and see all these people again, and it’s up to you to still be friends with then or become strangers, not aware of how you all changed during the time you were away.

Ekaterina Lalo

Visit my blog at http://nycvalues.blogspot.com.

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