Long distance relationships are the worst.
They’re stressful, lonely, and hugging a computer screen just isn’t as good as the real thing. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the risk. At 21, I moved 671.84 km away from Niagara Falls to Montreal. I knew no one, was starting at a new school, and the overwhelming feeling of detachment from my friends made me more reliant on Facebook than I am happy to admit. Four years later and that hankering for home never went away; but that’s not to say things didn’t get easier.
If you’re a student living abroad or somewhere new, know you’re not alone. Starting fresh on your own can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Here are some simple ways to make your long distance relationship (LDR) a success story.
Know Who Your Real Friends Are
The harsh reality is in the first weeks of school, only a handful of friends will call or text you on a regular basis. Losing touch with a few friends isn’t anything to take personally, the same way you probably don’t keep in contact with your grandma every day. Try not to get hung up; those friends that do find time to chat every day are only deepening your friendship and prove that no matter where you are in the world, they will always be there for you.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
If you make plans to talk to your parents or a pal, breaking them is a big no-no. Maintaining a relationship works both ways, so set aside time for chat dates. If you’re consistent with them, they’ll be consistent with you.
Let’s Talk About Skype, Baby
Skype, Facetime, ooVoo, or Tango. No, this isn’t gibberish. Yes, you should Google and download them immediately. (Oh, and they’re free!)
Being a student automatically puts you below the poverty line but splurging on an occasional ticket home isn’t going to break the bank. Megabus offers cheap bus tickets to Canada and the U.S. without draining your savings account. Or, if you’re looking for a ‘dirt cheap’ option, check out Kangaride. This ride-sharing, social media website is perfect for those looking to hitch a ride for a little gas money.
Handwritten Letters Go a Long Way
Sending a text or e-mail is easy, but sitting down and carefully choosing words that express your feelings in a letter is a genuine gesture. Plus, everyone loves getting mail (except bills. Bills are the worst).
The hardest part of any LDR is establishing trust. The only way to do this is to be open with each other. Communicate often and remember that your loved ones miss you as much as you miss them so avoid feeling jaded if they miss one of your calls.
Live Your Life
Yearning for “home sweet home” is unavoidable, but don’t let it prevent you from getting out and socializing. After all, embracing your new environment and making friends is part of the school experience. Living somewhere new doesn’t have to mean starting over, it can mean expanding on what you already have.
Photo courtesy: Sara Kelly
Ed. Note: Got tips for a LDR? Make it work? Got a LDR horror story? Share away, SLNers.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.