Connection. We all crave it and thrive on its presence in our lives. When you embark on your college career, it can be difficult to stay in touch with friends from earlier in your life. Between classes, studying, and extracurricular activities, it may appear impossible to maintain your pre-college friendships. This is especially true if your program of study takes away from home.
At EHL, we have students from over 110 different nationalities. As a result, we realize that many of our students may struggle to stay connected to their hometown friends. While we truly believe that the friendships students form while studying at EHL can last a lifetime, the friendships you had previously are also worth maintaining - and it's not as hard to do as you might think.
Use Social Media
Thanks to technological advances, it is easier than ever before to stay in touch with friends and loved ones from all over the world. Social media, video calling applications such as Skype, and ever-expanding cellular coverage mean you are rarely more than a click away from friends and family - no matter what your physical distance.
In addition to helping you stay in touch with long-time friends and family, social media makes connecting with new acquaintances simple. While you are at EHL, you will have the opportunity to network with students, professors, and professionals in the hospitality and tourism industry. Social media is at least as useful in building your professional network as it is in sustaining your personal network.
Commit to It
How many times have you said to someone, "Let's grab a cup of coffee sometime," only to have it never come to fruition? Instead, schedule a specific time to meet up for that cup of coffee. For friends who are geographically distant, find a time to talk on the phone or online.Avoid suggesting that you get together "sometime" and instead propose a date and time - then put it directly on your calendar. When you have a busy schedule, if something is not on your calendar, chances are it is not going to happen.
It might help to participate in a regularly scheduled, structured activity so you and your friends are accountable to more than just one another. Thecommittees and associationsat EHL could be one way to commit to spending time with friends you make on campus.
Reach Out and Check In
There will be times when your schedule simply does not allow you any opportunities to hang out with your friends. During these periods in your life, it is especially important to stay in touch. A quick text message checking in to see how someone is doing or even just to say "Hi," is all it takes to stay connected. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming this is enough. If you find you are only communicating with your friends through short messages - it is time to schedule a longer get together.
Carving time out of your busy schedule for friends may seem like a luxury, but it is actually more of a necessity. The friendships and relationships we build increase our resilience and sustain us throughout difficult and stressful times.