Students at Montclair State University who move to campus have to learn how to foster long distance relationships with their family members and friends. With the mounting pressure of classes and work, students often struggle to find time to connect with their loved ones.
During the summer, students get used to the ease of being in close proximity to their significant others, whether it’s eating lunch or dinner on the same table, going on vacation, holding someone’s hand or going for a walk together. Depending on how students are coping with the transition, they could feel lonely or depressed, especially if they haven’t been home for a long time.
While living on campus, students emphasized the importance of contacting their family and friends on social media or allowing them to visit over the weekend.
Senior psychology major Alexandra Leet has been living on campus for three years, and she is going to be graduating early. She explained the strategy she’s used to avoid becoming homesick.
“Everyday I communicate with my mom, but just [over] cell phone because I don’t have that much time to use social media,” Leet said. “I try and still keep in touch with my high school friends but not [often] because they went to different schools.”
Leet’s parents live 30-minutes away from Montclair State, so they come often to visit her on campus. When they’re not able to visit, she goes home for the weekend.
After Leet graduates from Montclair State, she will continue living independently because she plans to attend graduate school.
Senior filmmaking major Brooke Pawlowski has lived on-campus but now chooses to commute.
“I enjoyed staying on-campus, but have not stayed the third year due to expenses,” Pawlowski said.
Pawlowski’s home is 30-minutes away from Montclair State. While she was away, she would contact her family members and boyfriend often.
Every other weekend, Pawlowski would return home and visit her boyfriend.
“Although we didn’t get to hang out as much we used to, I was always going home and my boyfriend would come to visit,” Pawlowski said. “We had a good balance.”
Pawlowski continued to make their relationship a priority despite the distance, and they have now been together six years.
“After graduation, I eventually want to move out with my boyfriend, but not right away,” Pawlowski said.
Junior psychology major Ajanai Lang enjoys living independently and feels that she’s gotten used maintaining relationships at a distance.
“I communicate with family members every day [through] cellphone and social media,” Lang said. “Sometimes I also communicate with my high school friends as well.”
In the beginning of the semester, she missed her family and friends but now she is getting used to living by herself. Lang lives an hour away from Montclair State, so she gets to go home every other weekend.
“After graduating from Montclair State, I plan on going to graduate school and it depends on how life goes if I want to stay independent or not,” Lang said.
Thanks to the technology of smart phones and social media, students have ways to cope with the distance between their family, friends and significant others. Ultimately the most important ingredient to maintain relationships at a distance is making the time for each other.