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Opinion: It's important to maintain long-distance friendships while in college

Long-distance friendships can help students feel less lonely when dealing with the instability of college

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"A long distance friendship can help develop one's sense of identity."

We’ve all been there at some point freshman year: Sitting in our dorm room with an overwhelming sense of loneliness. 

But while it may feel like everyone else has found their new community at college, the reality is that they likely feel just as lonely. 

In fact, 63% of college students reported feeling “very lonely” at some point during a 12-month period according to the American College Health Association's 2018 National College Health Assessment. 

Just because you're physically away from your high school friends doesn't mean you can't maintain those friendships. It can be especially beneficial for students to keep in touch with their friends from home and maintain those relationships built during their formative years.

For example, David Huff, a senior studying political science and biological sciences, is interning in Washington D.C. while his best friend Catherine lives in Phoenix. 

Huff said that while students should learn to adjust to being comfortable on their own, it's important to keep up communication with long-distance friends.

“We FaceTime a lot as well as call each other," Huff said. "We get as much face-to-face interaction as we can. It’s how we’ve been communicating for the most part and updating every week as to what we’re doing and what we’re preparing for."

The best way that students can allow their friendships to flourish is having an open mind and adapting to change.

Jaqueline White, a junior studying public policy, said she also uses technology to make it feel like she's not so far away from her best friend lives in another state.

“Sometimes we just FaceTime in silence while doing work, it’s like we’re hanging out,” she said.

Maintaining long-distance friendships does come with unique challenges that students must actively work on overcoming. 

“There are times when I have to be mindful of his schedule, especially with the huge timezone difference”said Isabelle Rosales, a senior studying journalism and transborder studies who lives away from her best friend Kofi.

“There are just times when I want to tell him something, and I could’ve sent him in a text message, but I want to hear his voice,” Rosales said.

It is absolutely worth it for your sense of identity and mental health to maintain good friendships and know that there is someone out there who cares about your well-being and wants to see you succeed  — and vice versa.

Focusing on the negative aspects such as distance and the inability to physically be there for each other prevents you from continuing to bond with your friend.

“I think it’s difficult being in college and also being adults and having to work, but he is my absolute best friend in the whole world,”  Rosales said.

However, as important as it is to continue working on the current friendships we have from home, it is equally as important to make new friends with people in your new town.

“Sometimes it can be hard, especially when you only have that one person and they’re so far away from you," White said. "But I think taking the time to encourage one another to make other friends, while still cultivating that friendship by visiting them or make plans to visit them in the future, can be really great to sustain a friendship."

Reach the columnist at or follow @JennyGuzmanAZ on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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