Building Bridges: High School and College Friends

At this point, you have been in college for a few months, and you finally feel comfortable in your new surroundings. You only got lost twice looking for an obscure building, and you even have a solid crew to eat dinner with every night. Some nights you even catch yourself referring to your dorm room as home. After all, this place is home now!

Well, at least it feels like home until you actually head home for break. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by a whole other batch of faces to shuffle through every day, and it has almost become taxing to keep them straight. You long for your friends from college, but they are off on their own adventures. This is a common problem first year students face: living environment limbo. After spending so much time in one space, it feels odd to shuffle about, especially when you cannot seem to balance friends in both areas. Luckily, there are a few tactics for making sure you as “the best of both worlds” when it comes to friendship!

Cellphones were invented for a reason!

Just because you are away from home or school does not mean that you should let your communication skills falter. While you are at home, text your friends from school to see how they are fairing in their at-home escapades. Likewise, check up on the happenings of your own hometown by asking how classes are going for your friends or calling them every once in a while. People truly appreciate when you take the first step to communicating with them. It not only shows them you care enough to contact them, but you are also worth knowing about as well.

Make your hometown friends honorary weekend warriors.

Depending on your plans for the weekend, invite some of your old buddies up to hang out, see the town or participate in events at your college. Holiday weekends are always the best time to invite up high school friends. There is no better way to break the ice between your group of friends than running around in Halloween costumes or celebrating school pride. Plus, nothing brightens up a monotonous day like bringing in an old, familiar face.

Plan meet-ups over the winter breaks.

Nothing is more straining on budding college friendships than the seemingly unending freshman winter break. After spending so many months getting to know your new clique, you feel off not being by their sides every single waking hour of the day. The shock will settle eventually, trust me. However, do not let your ties weaken over the month or so that you will be off school. Schedule meetings and nights over at your friends’ houses. Better yet, invite them to your hometown to spend the day with you and your old friends. One of my favorite memories from my freshman year was gathering together with my college friends to celebrate our mutual friend’s birthday and News Year Eve in the city of Chicago. These are the kind of moments that last forever, and you should be mindful never to turn down an opportunity to do such a thing!

And finally, do not be obscure when talking to your friends from either location.

Beware the pitfalls of feeling like you have to tell every single inside joke you and your friends (from home or college) have ever come up with. It gets old really fast, and your friends will tire of it quickly. Instead, explain why you feel so-and-so would like the individual, and why they absolutely must meet them sometime. Drop a few names and explain everything clearly. That way, when your group of friends finally meets, they will perk up at the introduction and say, “I’ve heard so many great things about you!”

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Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins

Tori Stukins is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Theatre. On campus, Tori can often be found working on various projects for Her Campus Illinois, acting in a production or reading. While at home, she enjoys working at her family’s restaurant or exploring with her friends.