Ask Colleen: Moving off-campus
March 1, 2017
I’m a sophomore on campus this semester, and I have decided to live off-campus next semester. All of my friends are going to be living in a different place than me. I think they’ve realized that I’m going to be leaving soon, and they’re starting to push me out of our circle. I still want to stay friends with them but they’re making me feel unwanted. Do I try to keep up our friendship or should I try to find new friends?
I remember the days when I lived across campus from my friends after freshman year. We went from all living next to each other to living a whole 10 minutes away from each other. That was sarcasm, obviously, but those 10 minutes made a huge difference.
Although you may be going to the same university and possibly only living a couple of blocks away, it is still hard to maintain friendships when you once lived so close to each other. River Falls is a relatively small campus, but you can make it as big or small as you want it to be.
After my freshman year, I chose to live in a residence hall that was on the complete other side of campus from my friends. At first, I really didn’t think it would be a big deal to live on the other side, but I’m not going to lie to you: It was hard to make time to see them. It’s not like I couldn’t walk across campus to see them; it’s just that they weren’t located near me and it was easier to just go back to my residence hall.
We all become absorbed in our own lives and eventually settle down into a routine. Because my friends weren’t near me, I just didn’t see them as often as I once did. When living in the same residence halls as your friends, there is the convenience of them always being there. You can walk across the hall to hang out with them or even just to grab them to go to dinner. It’s not that simple when you live on opposite sides of campus.
Now, I’m not trying to scare you into thinking that these friendships can’t work, because they can. We all have choices. If you choose to remain friends with these people, it may take a little bit more effort than you’re used to. It won’t be as easy as yelling across the hall when you all are going out or walking to class.
The bottom line is that you don’t live far away from them now. I would say, for both parties, it’s important to enjoy the time that you do have together. Let’s not look too far into the future, because that hasn’t happened yet. Like you said, they may be pushing away because you will be living in a different area next semester, but that’s next semester, not now. Over that past couple of years, I have been working on living in the moment. It’s so easy to be excited for the future, but it’s also important to live in the now.
You should never feel unwanted by the people who you call your friends. Regardless of the distance between you and your friends, those who want to be in your life will make time to do so. I would advise you to talk to your friends about this and let them know how you feel.
They could potentially be pushing you away because they feel like you are leaving them. Maybe they think you are putting distance between each other because you chose to live on a different part of campus?
I would say that you wouldn’t want to keep friendships with people if they aren’t putting in the effort to maintain a friendship with you. Any relationship takes both parties to put forth an effort. I know that it may be hard to move across campus, but this could always be a really good experience for you! Moving somewhere different gives you the opportunity to meet new people and form new friendships.
I wouldn’t say that you need to let go of these friends and move on just because you moved to a different place. However, if they aren’t going to make the effort, then I would not make the effort back.
Take this move as a chance to get out there and meet new people. I know that your first couples of years on campus and where you live can really dictate who you are friends with, but you would be surprised how many more people you can meet outside of the residence halls. Some of my very best friends in college I have met in class and at work.
Talk it out with your friends, but don’t be discouraged if things don’t go as planned. Trust me, friendships change and that’s completely normal. Just keep your eyes open to all of the new possibilities that will come with this move.
Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.