Stay connected with friends over summer break

By Hayley Nagelberg, Columnist

Elementary school, it was so easy to leave school for summer break. You took your friend’s yearbook, wrote “HAGS” and went on your merry way for two months before picking back up in the fall like nothing changed.

We didn’t all have smartphones — we didn’t have phones at all — and there weren’t endless social media channels. When I left for sleepaway camp, I had a box of envelopes, stamps and paper to write letters to my friends and family. Getting a printed email from home was a big deal.

School felt like it would last forever, and the people in our lives would never go away.

Now, in college, it’s 2018, and reality is a little different. We are interconnected through smartphones, computers and endless social media. We recognize school does not last forever, and the people we share this campus with will not be here forever.

The end of the school year is met with different emotions. As thrilled as we are to be seeing the end of classes and the end of exams, there is a very distinct reality a fraction of the people we have spent the last year or years with will be leaving us.

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These emotions go beyond how we feel toward just those who are graduating. There is a unique life we get to live for nearly 10 months of the year, where copious amounts of our closest friends and confidants are confined to the same few square miles.

We each are preparing to go our own ways for the summer: to intern, study, travel, research, begin a new career or relax. The people we expect to be at our doorstep within 15 minutes of a text may be much further away, and the effort we have to put in to see each other and communicate with each other will change.

When my parents ask me how old friends of mine — whom I don’t keep up with — are doing, I can usually give an answer based solely off what I see they have put on their Facebook walls, their Instagram feeds and their Snapchat stories.

And for the summer, there are many people I find myself keeping up with in the same way.

Summer provides an incredible opportunity to broaden our horizons in so many ways, to meet new people, to take a break from people and places we are tired of and so much more.

Summer also provides an opportunity to evaluate the relationships we have formed with our peers here. Seeing who chooses to make the extra effort to stay informed about your life and who you put in more of an effort to communicate with shows us the people who are most impactful in our lives.

There are people who believe “HAGS” is still going to be enough. There are people you will not keep up with over the summer and new faces who will become a part of your experience.

Summer is not just a break from school; it is a time to see how your community built on campus can function in the real world. There is tremendous merit in going the extra mile to communicate over summer break — both literally and figuratively.

Drive the extra miles to see a friend interning in another city. Pick up the phone and call the person you are used to seeing every day around campus. Learn more about your friend’s lives than simply what they filter through their social networks.

Hayley is a junior in ACES.

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