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When I left for university, I distinctly remember that one of my biggest worries was my friends. Can friendships back at home really survive after we all move off to university? You won’t get nearly as much time together as you used to, so how can things possibly remain the same? Between becoming a full-time university student, learning to live completely independently, and making new friendships, it’s not so hard to imagine how this myth came to be. So I found myself thinking that pre-university friendships surely cannot last. Or can they?
After two years of being at university as an international student, about an 11 hour flight from home, I’ve learned that the answer is this: things may change, but true friendships never will. I don’t say this just to make anyone new to university not worried, I say this from true experience. I think I’m a great testament to the fact that distance most definitely does not define a friendship.
I’ve been friends with my bestie for a little over 10 years now. We met as kids when she invited me to some silly Hawaiian-themed birthday party of hers. We were used to spending nearly every day of our lives together; if I went just a few days without seeing her, I thought I would go crazy! So when I decided to make the decision to move to university on a different continent, we knew things wouldn’t be easy. Not seeing my best friend every day – that was a pretty terrifying thought. My biggest worry was that with all of the distance between us, and all of the new friendships we’d make, maybe she’d forget about me. Or maybe we just would stop talking so much and eventually not even know each other like we used to.
But now, our friendship is stronger than it ever has been. Sure, maintaining friendships back home may be a bit more work than they used to be, but I’ve found that if it’s a friendship worth lasting, it won’t feel like work at all. Granted, I don’t speak with everyone I used to but that’s not the point. Some friendships grow apart, and some grow together – that’s just the nature of things. The friendships meant to last, will last. And it’s not all that hard either!
We live in a day and age where video calls are readily available to us even from our own phones. I can send a text message to my friends and they will receive it in mere seconds. Combine the video calls and instant text messages with our social media accounts and the ease of travel, communication is surely no barrier in any long-distance friendship. Sometimes I feel as though my best friend knows my life here in England nearly as well as I do, and she’s never even been here!
One of the things I find most amazing about my friendships back at home is how much you learn to appreciate the little time you do get together. Nothing is more exciting than planning a visit to see your friends, and it always gives you something to look forward to! Invite your friends to visit you at university, and do the same for them. Plan simultaneous trips home and hang out like you used to in ‘the good ol’ days.’
And then, soon enough, you’ll too find that maintaining friendships back at home is just as exciting and easy as any other. What I’m trying to say is, please don’t buy the myth that you’ll completely lose touch with your friends from home, it’s definitely possible to keep a friendship going, and even if your relationship changes a little, it’s natural for friendships to evolve over time! So stop worrying about it, you’ll be just fine.