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The Daily Illini

Students should stay connected after graduation

Brooks Berish, Assistant supplements editor

Graduation is upon us, and those who are leaving this great school of ours will be taking something of incalculable value with them. The connections we make in college, some would argue, are more valuable than the diploma we get when we graduate. That is why sustaining those networks and keeping friends close is an essential part of life after college.

There are several ways to maintain these connections after college, whether they are with close friends or class acquaintances. Even if you don’t believe some of the people you know will ever be able to help you in the future, it is still a good idea to keep in touch because you never know what might come up.

One simple way to keep them close, at least virtually, is to stay active on social media with them. This doesn’t have to include directly messaging them or contacting them if you are too busy. If you haven’t already, friend everyone you’d like to keep in contact with on Facebook. Liking their posts or pictures they are tagged in will remind them you are still relevant in their life. That way, when you actually want to contact them later down the line, your name won’t seem as obscure as their other school acquaintances that they haven’t heard from in years.

LinkedIn is another excellent tool for networking and keeping a tab on what people you know are doing in their professional career. Using your connections as a resource to advance your own career is not exploitative or narcissistic at all considering that everyone else is doing the same thing. Drawing a digital line between yourself and the people you’ve met at college can give you a huge advantage after graduating.

A sad and inevitable realization that hits us at graduation is that many of our friends who have been so close and available to us for years are now going in seemingly every direction around the country. Figuring out a way to keep a line of contact with all of your friends in different places can seem daunting. With long-distance friendships, you just have to accept the fact that you won’t see each other as much as before. Just make it clear they can come visit when they’re in town and you would do the same if you were near them. The occasional phone call will suffice, as well as keeping email and text messaging communications alive.

Some will be ambitious in the beginning and try to reach that level of contact they had before graduating, but reality will soon set in, and new responsibilities will supersede their ability to keep in regular contact with their old friends.

My grandfather recently went to his high school reunion where he saw friends he hasn’t seen in over 60 years. He said he and his friends from high school clicked right back into their comradely bantering within the first five minutes of seeing each other as if they were back in high school again. This notion suggests that losing contact with friends from college will not extinguish the friendship and connection that was built during those years.

It is still important to try and maintain those connections through social media, meetups and just making yourself available to them. The main point here is to avoid burning bridges. The connections you maintain from your college career shouldn’t only be considered as resources to be utilized, but rather as an indispensable section of your social scaffolding, that if lost, would damage the entire structure.

berish2@dailyillini.com

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