Uni is a time to go out, socialise with new mates, spend hungover mornings watching Netflix, and stay on top on uni work simultaneously. But what happens if a long distance relationship is added to your crammed schedule, and it’s getting a bit too much to handle? Whether it’s with your High School sweetheart or your summer fling turned boyfriend/girlfriend, being apart for long periods of time might come as a shock to the system, and turn out to be a lot more difficult than anticipated.
In my case, I got into a relationship the summer before I was off to Glasgow University. By the time I left, we were still in the so called ‘honeymoon period’ and were seeing each other every day, so suddenly being apart felt really weird. We went three weeks without seeing each other before I went to visit him for a weekend, and those three weeks were strenuous to say the least. After that we saw each other about once a month, which was difficult but just about enough to handle the distance. Ultimately, when I finished my year in Glasgow and started again at Cardiff University, we called it quits, but we did manage long distance for nine months.
Some things that help are fairly simple and manageable. Skyping every night for at least an hour, which generally feels like being in the same room, is a good way to keep up to date and catch up on each other’s days. We kept in touch pretty much the whole time, whether it was texting or phoning, which meant we didn’t miss out on things. Other things that help may seem like little gestures – sending each other cards in the post, ordering each other little presents on amazon, or sending a surprise dominos on the odd occasion can keep you feeling close. Making sure you plan ahead the next time you’re seeing each other will help too, so you know you have a concrete day to which you can countdown to and plan ahead for (in terms of uni work etc.). Another thing that might help is getting involved in uni – join a society, start a new sport, fill up your CV with volunteering and internship opportunities. This way you won’t be dwelling on missing each other, and you’ll learn to have independent, busy lives without depending on each other.
Arguably, this is a massive pro to a long distance relationship; it helps you to achieve something which lots of normal couples don’t manage until they’re in full time jobs and spend a lot of time apart. Of course on the flip side, a long distance relationship might act as a con, stopping you from fully participating in student life. If you’re tied town with skype dates and weekends away visiting your other half, you won’t fully feel the usual flexibility of uni life. On top of that, being in a relationship might make you feel like you’re npt getting the full uni experience of being free, going out, and doing whatever you want (within reason).
Ultimately, long distance relationships are difficult and in reality the odds are probably against you, but if you really want to make it work, it can. They might alter your uni experience, but that might not bother you, and weekend away from your usual uni life seeing your bae might come as welcome break in routine once in a while. Don’t give up hope just yet.