Stay in touch with friends back home

By Ali
Category: Social | Date: Thu 23 Oct, 2008

One of the great things about uni is meeting new people and making new friends. But this can sometimes mean losing touch with friends back home, as you get caught up in the busyness of life at university. I’m as guilty of this as anyone – I’m awful at keeping in touch with people, and haven’t seen any of my friends from undergrad times in a while.

But if you’re going to be returning home outside term-time, it’s worth making at least some effort to keep up with everyone – old schoolfriends will probably be keen to meet up for a drink or a night out whilst back home.

Definitely keep in touch with your high school friends. You can always count on them for support and good laughs. This may be stating the obvious, but when you return home, they’ll be the first ones (aside from your family) who will want to spend time with you and with whom you will most likely socialize, so why fall out of touch?
– Ariel Melendez, Princeton University, freshman, in How to Survive Your Freshman Year

Here are some easy ways to stay in touch:

Messenger, Twitter, Facebook, emails…

Try dropping friends a quick note via Facebook, emailing them once in a while with your news, chatting on Messenger whilst “studying”, or updating them on what you’re up to using Twitter.

The advantage to electronic communication is that it can be less intrusive than a phone call, and it usually doesn’t matter if your friends have a very different schedule to yours – they can pick up messages when they’re at their computer.

You can also easily send mass updates by electronic means, whether that’s a round-robin email, a status update on Facebook, or a message on Twitter or your blog.

Be aware, though, that Twitters, Facebook updates and blog entries are likely to go unnoticed by much of your circle – if you want to be sure you’ve made contact with a specific person, phoning, texting or emailing directly are the best options.

(By the way – we can be found on www.twitter.com/alphastudent if you want to keep in touch with us too! I’m also on Facebook – feel free to drop me a line or add me as your friend!)

Get Skype if you make a lot of calls

Unless you have an extraordinarily generous mobile plan, you could probably save a lot of money by using Skype to make phone calls. If you’re living in uni accommodation, the chances are good that you have a fast broadband connection. All you need is a phone to plug into your USB port, and a Skype account.

You can contact other Skype users for free, and making phone calls to landlines all around the world is very cheap. If you don’t have a separate landline, you can buy a real phone number with Skype so that people can ring you on it.

Make free Skype-to-Skype calls – any time of day, any day of the week, anywhere in the world.
– from Skype’s home page.

Send a “real” letter once in a while

A lovely way to stay in touch with friends, especially people you were close to in school, is to send a “real” letter instead of an email. For most students, post consists of bills, junk mail and the occasional Amazon package – getting an actual letter is a special moment!

If you can’t face writing a long message, why not buy a few postcards of your university’s town, and send those to friends who’re back home or off at different universities?

Like so many things in life, I find that writing letters and postcards is a lot of fun (and not much effort) once I actually sit down to do it – so give it a go! If you’re really stuck on how to get started, I’ve got some advice on writing letters to friends and family over on Dumb Little Man.

Over to you

Instead of further reading, there’s an exercise for you to do today, for a change:

Pick a friend from back home, and send them a message today to let them know how’re you’re doing, and to ask how things are going for them.

Easy, huh?

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