Ask a Fifth Year: Summer Lovin’ Had Me Sad and Alone

Dear Sarah,

It’s nearing the end of the school year, and I’m getting really anxious about staying in touch with my friends over the summer, and even into the fall for those who are studying abroad. Living in such close proximity makes it easy to develop strong relationships with those around you, but what happens when you don’t see those people every day? How do you manage to keep a relationship strong without the ease of Lawrence-themed drama as a constant source of conversation?

– Met a Boy Who Was Crazy for Me and Lived Ten Million Miles Away


Dear Met a Boy,

If your relationship — be it between romantically involved partners or friends — is a strong one, the distance won’t be an issue. A relationship built on genuine interest and involving serious conversation is not very hard to continue through the summer. However, a relationship that only involves complaints about papers to write and whether or not they stocked pineapple in the café today might not remain as strong through the summer. Those friends are ones you will reconnect with in the fall.

Keep the conversation going: The easiest way to stay in contact is to do just that — keep in contact. Start a Facebook message thread with a few of your friends; that way you will always have an outlet to make a comment on something and begin a conversation. Find specific times to get in touch with people, be it a Skype date or even setting aside your afternoon to make a phone call. It’s convenient to always have friends around campus to talk to about the daily events that make up your life, but it’s also very comforting to be able to call someone at the end of the day and to summarize your day to.

Get crafty: Now, I know arts and crafts aren’t for everyone, but getting mail is even more exciting than getting a phone call. Hallmark makes pretty good bank on their line of “Just Thinking About You” cards, and you can take their sentiment to a new level by adding your own craftiness. Imagine receiving this in the mail: “I found all this spare yarn in my bedroom closet back home, and it got me thinking about how cold last Winter Term was, so I decided to knit you this scarf. I hope your summer is going well.” Now there’s a message that no amount of emoticons can equal.

Document and share: We are the generation of social media. We want to know what everyone else is doing at every possible point in time. Whether you’re climbing mountains in Africa, sitting on a beach on the East Coast or working a job in the mall in your hometown, find some way to document your experience. You could start a blog, write in a journal or take photographs. Then, when you next talk to your friends from school, you have something meaningful to share with them.

One of the biggest challenges about staying in contact with other Lawrentians over the summer is that we lose our convenient conversational structure. Use this long time apart as a way to deepen your relationships and make them as meaningful as possible.