Making the effort: How to make long-distance friendships work
The end of high school is pretty sweet, but after graduation one of the things I could not wrap my head around was the loss of familiarity when I stopped seeing the same people every day. I grew up about 30 minutes outside of St. Louis, so it was a big community with a small-town feel.
There were four elementary schools that fed into one middle school and then one high school. Basically, by the time I was 12, I knew almost everyone I would be graduating high school with. I formed friendships that were just so easy because how can you not be friends with people you see every day? We had movie nights, went to dances, and played sports together. Then, we graduated. Suddenly, I was expected to find new people to do those things with?
I started as a freshman at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) with almost 5,000 other freshmen. In high school, I had a strong friend group of about nine people, but only one went to Mizzou with me. Suddenly, I was looking for a new group of friends, a new support system, but was also preoccupied with maintaining the old one. Now, over a year later, I have made incredible connections with my fellow Mizzou students while holding onto the ones from St. Louis. Here’s what I learned along the way.