student life

Can friendships at home survive at university?

Friends, kettle mag
Written by Isobelle Mallinson
Moving away to university means joining thousands of strangers in a new city. This couldn’t be more different from being the big fish in the little pond that you were in your home town.

Moving away to university means joining thousands of strangers in a new city. This couldn’t be more different from being the big fish in the little pond that you were in your home town. Near to your local high school and surrounded by the ‘usual crowd,’ a night out at home is like going down to your Grandma’s for Sunday lunch.
 
You know who will be there, the exact moment to arrive and who to avoid eye contact with! Going to university can be a social minefield – adapting to such unfamiliar situations can become a challenging friendship arena.
 
Despite the difficulties faced at university, friendships at home can also suffer from the long distance and you might find that your personality changes when you’re at university which can make existing friendships difficult to manage.
 
So how can students balance university life and still manage to maintain friendships at home?
 
Forever friends?
 
At eighteen, most students will have a crowd of individuals that they call their closest friends. They will be the probably be the people you moaned with about your A-Levels, know all about your embarrassing first-time crush and will be the friends you sneaked out with for your first time in a nightclub.
 
These friends will most likely be used to your strange antics, weaknesses for embarrassing music and will understand every little intricacy of your unique personality. Moving away to university will always be a big deal to these faithful companions.
 
The first hurdle for best friends regarding university is ‘Who got in’ vs ‘Who didn’t’. When close friends learn they might not be joining you in similar education pursuits, tensions will inevitably arise. Jealousy and disappointment can cause arguments and resentment towards the soon-to-be student.
 
The only way to deal with this is to tackle the problem head-on. Not getting into university is disappointing and knowing your best friend is causes even more resentment, but this doesn’t mean you have to lose a strong friendship.
 
Reassure friends that are staying home that you can remain good friends and convince them of the advantages of your departure: they get to come stay with you for free and have even more memorable nights out.
 
Surviving the distance
 
The second issue university can put on friendships from home is the pressure of less communication. When you are used to meeting up every other day, walking to each other’s houses and constant texts and calls, the frenzied, busy university schedule can slow down this regular communication. 
 
For new students, a top tip would be to ensure that you check in with friends at home at least a few times  a week and  let them know you are sometimes a bit too busy to reply to texts straight away. If they are good friends, they will understand.
 
Jealous of replacements
 
Another problem student’s face is jealousy. University is full of new, exciting and friendship-hungry students. It might be easy to forget all about your best friends at home in favour of making exciting, new friends – friends who feel like you met them years ago when really you only met them a couple of days ago.
 
Resisting the temptation to litter your Instagram and Facebook with the faces of your new companions is often hard to resist, leaving friends from home feeling put out and jealous. 
 
The best way to tackle this issue is just to get it out of your system! This new friendship flirting is inevitable: once Freshers’ week is over, most students will naturally start to really miss their friends from home after the mania of the first week.
 
Welcomed back?
 
The fourth and final pressure friendships from home suffer from is the reintegration into your old circles. Returning home to your friends after the first term of university can be a culture shock: often students can feel different to when they left.
 
With the addition of new-found independence and making new friends, things will sadly never be exactly the same again. Despite this, friendships do not have to come to an end – they just have to be altered a little to adapt to this development.
 
University will always be a big life change, especially for the friends you leave behind. With new people to meet and a new place to discover, you might seem glad to see the back of over-familiar surroundings. Despite this, I assure you, incoming Freshers, that this feeling will fade.
 
Once Freshers is over and you are missing home, you will ache for the comfort of your best friends. You will want nothing more than your old town, your old bed and your old best friend. After all, who else in the world will stick up for your obsession for coleslaw and cookie sandwiches?
 
What do you think? Have your friendships from home survived a move to university? What other advice would you give? Have your say in the comments section below.