Best Tips for Keeping in Touch with College Pals

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For most of us, summer means ditching the dorm or sorority house for a much calmer home base: the ‘rent’s house. No more toga parties or dinners served by women in hair nets. But the worst part of leaving campus? Your best friend is no longer two doors down. This means you can’t meander your way to her room at 3 a.m. with a big bowl of Ben & Jerry’s when the boy doesn’t call.

But just because a few (hundred?) miles now separate you and your old roomies/classmates/lunch dates does not mean that you have to lose touch

Use the internet! For most college students, the internet is a major part of their lives. Between adding applications on Facebook, posting new kissy-face pics on MySpace and checking news sites, blogs and e-mail accounts, 42% of college students say they use the internet primarily to communicate socially, according to the PEW Internet & American Life Project. While making a long distance call can sometimes be expensive and inconvenient, services like MSN Messenger or AIM provide an easy, non-committal way to keep in touch. Even if your friend isn’t at their computer when you fire off an IM, he or she can get back to you minutes, hours or days after receiving your message. E-mail is also another fabulous way to let your pals know what you’re up to. And if you’ve got a blog you feel comfortable letting people who know you in real life read, let your girls in on the address.

Text messaging and photo messaging. Maybe you can’t take your girls with you to the hair salon anymore, but you can still get their feedback using picture messaging. Texts are easy (and usually fairly cheap) to send, so there is really no excuse not to keep your friends updated on all the big and not-so-big happenings of your summer life. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Snail mail. Remember that pen pal you had in 5th grade? How about keeping in touch with your college friends through good old snail mail? Think of all the possibilities – you can send each other stickers, photos and other little mementos. If you want to go all out, you could engage in a little clothes-swapping, like sharing a particular shirt or accessory and writing about your experiences while wearing it (a la The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Everyone loves getting mail, especially when it’s a cute letter or package from a faraway friend. It’s okay to act like a kid again every once in awhile and what better time than summertime?

Web cams. Not everyone can afford one of these babies, but long-distance couples swear by using web cams to keep in touch. This way you can see your friends beautiful face (and expressions on that face when telling you about their latest crush) all from the comfort of your computer chair.

There are tons of simple ways to keep in touch with friends over the summer. Whatever method you chose, just remember that it’s truly the thought that counts.