One of my greatest anxieties as a high school senior was wondering what would happen between my girlfriend and I once we went off to college. While I had chosen Iowa, she chose a school in New York, meaning we would not get the chance to see each other very often. It’s scary to go from seeing each other so often for 3.5 years to once every few months; but after doing long-distance for nearly four months now, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve realized that it’s not as terrifying as I had expected.
After the first few weeks of long-distance and working through the chaotic, weird phase of trying to figure out how it’s going to work, you’ll start to form a schedule that will become the new normal. You learn each other’s classes and get used to the times when your partner is busy, and take advantage of the free time you both have. For example, my girlfriend chose to study abroad in Italy for her first semester, so we had to get used to a 7-hour time difference. While that was really intimidating, I got used to calling her in the afternoon between some of my classes and wishing her goodnight while the sun was still up in Iowa.
Luckily, now that the world has adjusted to COVID, there are a lot of fun ways to hang out virtually. Watching movies together, playing games online, and sending each other letters are all activities that we’ve been doing often. Of course, it doesn’t feel the same as being with that person, but it’s so much better than being long-distance 30, 10, or even 5 years ago; there are just so many more ways now to spend time together when you’re apart.
Possibly the most annoying part of a long-distance relationship in college is finding a private space to call from. You don’t want to constantly call from your room to bother your roommate, so you have to find some alternative spots. During early fall and late spring, sitting somewhere outside is a convenient option (just bring bug spray), but it gets harder to find somewhere in the winter. Some spots that I’ve found that work for me are stairwells, private study spaces where you won’t bother people (DON’T be that person that calls from a public study space), and empty lounges.
Overall, doing long-distance relationships in college is not easy. There are plenty of times where you’ll feel lonely and be jealous of the couples who get to be together; but if you’re in a relationship you’re happy with, it’s worth putting in the effort. It makes the time you get to spend together feel more valuable and special, and it helps you understand the reasons why you value your relationship. It’s like they always say: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. 🙂