By Ashavari Baral
When I graduated from high school, I knew that when I eventually made my way to University I was going to leave my friends and family behind. It was a pity because I loved my comfort zone. I moved from New Hampshire when I was 5 years old and India became my home, it became my safe space and the friends I made became friends for life. When I left for Cardiff, my friends left me at the airport and said “You have to keep in touch and ring us everyday, we will miss you so much”, with tears in my eyes I promised when I said my final goodbyes. When I decided to write this article, I reflected greatly if I stuck to my promise.
Looking back, I think it was impossible to keep in touch every single day. Given our time difference, when I’d wake up, my friends would be in uni, when I’d get back home they’d be asleep. It was really straining to keep in touch and for a long time I feel like I was too eager to keep in touch with people back home over the fear of missing out. My social life in Cardiff was lacking and I didn’t feel present at all. As time passed by, I found a balance between friends back home and life in Cardiff. I started by always making time for my assignments first, but and ringing my friends up the minute I finished so I could get their opinion on it. On weekends when my friends would be free, I’d take some time off and Skype them. Social media helps a lot, to be in engaging I usually reply to my friends stories quite a bit. If I see a picture of their family, I reply asking how they are and the conversation continues.
But social media can also make you feel like an outsider so I’d suggest also sending them a private message via Facebook or WhatsApp as well, whenever it works out for you. Another point to keep in mind is if you can’t maintain long distance friendships, it’s okay. Don’t feel bad, you have different priorities when you move away from home and most friends are understanding as they have a lot of stuff going on with them as well. Another tip, I would give you – when you’re walking to uni, or anywhere that is a fair distant. Why not ring one of your friends and have a chat? They’ll appreciate that you thought of them and that you put in the time!
Just remember you cannot please everyone, and are your friends really your friends if they don’t understand your busy schedule?