How to Stay Connected with Hometown Friends at University
Leaving home and heading to university is great for a new start and new opportunities. Unfortunately, it can also become more difficult to maintain old friendships. Whereas once everything came naturally, you’ll now need to put in effort to ensure you stay connected. The good news is there are several things you can do to keep your hometown crew as lifelong friends.
1. Check In Regularly
Whenever you realize that you haven’t spoken to someone in particular for a while, send that friend a message. Friends may stop messaging you if they’re feeling stressed about schoolwork or other responsibilities — and a message from you could be just what they need. Consider creative ways to stay in touch other than text. A long email with news and photos is more personal than social media updates. Alternatively, you could go even more old-fashioned with handwritten letters.
2. Make It About Them
You’re sure to have exciting news to share, but you should always ask your friends how they’re doing when you reach out, rather than immediately talking about yourself. Showing that you care is critical for maintaining friendships.
3. Set Up a Group for Just Hometown Friends
Consider creating a group on social media or through a text thread just for your hometown friends. This will help everyone feel they belong together, even though you are no longer physically together. Make sure to include friends who didn’t go to university and perhaps still live in your hometown. If they’re a minority of the group, it’s extra important to show interest in their lives and ensure the conversation doesn’t become dominated by talk about college.
4. Accept Changes
It’s no secret that time and new experiences change people. You’ll need to accept these changes instead of expecting friends to be the same as before you left. As long as they don’t change so much that you no longer have anything in common, you should embrace your friends for the people they become.
5. Organize Weekend Trips
Meeting up in person is not only a great way to keep friendships strong, it also allows you to be part of each other’s current lives. Organize weekend trips to visit the cities where your friends live now. You can show each other your campuses, living quarters, and favourite hangout spots.
6. Travel Together
To strengthen the bond between you, there’s nothing better than traveling together. Spring or summer break are ideal times — just be sure you make arrangements early enough to allow friends with jobs the chance to request time off.
Just as important as staying connected to hometown friends is to make new friends. Many students live their first year on campus for exactly this reason. However, this has significant downsides, including the need to share your personal space with strangers, meal plans, and noise. A better alternative is the Revalie — Carleton off-campus housing. You’ll still live with other students, but you’ll have your own room in a stylish suite and everything you need on site, such as a grocery store and food hall. Sign up to book a virtual tour and explore it all.