Column: Going the distance


For many students, going to college means moving away from home and leaving comfort and familiarity. Friends that were just minutes away are now no longer as close. For me, home is Los Angeles, California — nearly 2,400 miles away from Lehigh. 

Prior to moving in freshman year, I was excited — anticipating all the new friends, events, memories, classes and seasons. But as the months turned into weeks, then days and then hours, I realized I was scared. 

I was jumping into the unknown and making a decision I couldn’t go back on. I couldn’t text or call my mom to pick me up and I couldn’t just go home.

I cried when I got dropped off and moved into my dorm. It was the end of an era. This was it, and with the start of this new stage in my life, I realized that the people once closest to me were no longer going to be a large part of my life.

The first few weeks of the semester were a blur, and when things finally calmed down, I realized I had gone a whole month without talking to my best friend. 

My best friend Jackie goes to college in California, located roughly three hours from our hometown and 2,500 miles away from Lehigh. Not only do we have thousands of miles between us, but we also have a three hour time difference.

Keeping in contact and preserving this relationship definitely takes some work. It was easy when we went to school together and saw each other most days of the week. 

Now, in my third year of college, my best friend and I still text daily and have our weekly Sunday FaceTime calls. She is always one of the first people I text when I have significant news, and when I need the cold hard truth or someone to cry to. 

I think Jackie and I both would agree that the distance has strengthened our relationship, and if anything, having completely separate lives at our universities has given us so much more to talk about. 

While I am in Bethlehem for the majority of the year, when I go home for breaks, I am in turn thousands of miles away from my friends at Lehigh.

Regardless of the kind of relationship, distance is hard. It requires work.

As a freshman living on campus, many of my friends were located on the same floor as me. I could easily go to any of my friends’ dorms in a matter of minutes. We also ate lunch and dinner together every single day. 

Now I live off campus, and even though I am in proximity to my friends, we rarely have classes together. Multiple meals daily is now a couple meals together a week, at best. 

These relationships now require a little more work and a little more planning.

Seeing who is willing to put in the work and find the time to see me has been, at times, pretty disappointing. But by recognizing who makes an effort, I have been able to figure out which friends are going to be there for me and where to give my loyalty. 

As my life continues, as heartbreaking as it is, I am sure that some of my relationships will not be able to go the distance. But with some mutual hard work, the relationships that matter will.

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