Wednesday 3 June 2020

Friendships after Graduation: Tips for maintaining and building friendships after graduating from university

Emily shares her tips for maintaining contacts with university friends and building new friendship after graduation. 
- Emily Maybanks

Maintaining friendships when you are at university is relatively easy. You see your friends every day, in lectures, in societies, in your accommodation or in the library. Therefore, you don’t need to put too much effort into meeting up with them. It is when you leave university that things get more difficult; and sadly, sometimes friends simply drift apart. You probably move back home or elsewhere, sometimes to the other side of the country, or even to a new country. Moving on, you might change interests, and eventually have less time for each other. This is a natural progression, but for many, it can be a difficult process.

It is easy to assume that with many social media sites, free minutes, and video calling software, it would be easier to maintain contact with friends after graduation. However, getting a job and starting work can make keep in touch with friends difficult because you might feel too tired at the end of the day to talk on the phone. Sometimes, you actually have to schedule at specific times to speak with friends. Another thing—and this can be a negative side to social media—are you might see your friends’ posts and find it difficult to not compare yourself to them. They might be posting about their amazing new job, or their travels for example and it’s hard not to feel jealous especially if your life has not turned out quite the way you had hoped or expected.

Nurturing new friendship while maintaining old ones might seem like a challenging task, but there are many opportunities to make new friends as well as keep in touch with old friends after graduation.

You could meet new people through new activities such as volunteering, and joining local or virtual clubs. For example, I’ve met new friends through volunteering for the Hospital radio station, and found friends from all walks of life! Also, you could join a club and meet people with similar interests to you, like joining a society at university.

Keeping in touch with friends from university after graduation does not have to be difficult neither. Yes, sometimes, you do just naturally drift apart, but long-distance friendships can work.  Strong friendships don’t need daily conversations. “Good friends are like stars — you don’t always see them but you know they are always there.” Some quiet time and space could make the times when you do speak to each other or meet up with each other much more special and enjoyable. You could plan a day out together or even a holiday together. 

You can find some advice about looking after your mental health during the transition from uni 
to grad life here.

My name is Emily (Em). In 2018, I graduated from Swansea University with my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting where I was also passionate about and dedicated to Swansea Student Media and the University students’ newspaper – Waterfront. In September 2020 I will be starting a PGCE at the University of Reading to train to teach Secondary MFL (French and German). I blog for Student Minds because I have experienced mental health issues as a student and now also as a graduate, as well as various other health issues, and I support friends who also have mental health difficulties. I am a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences – both in helping me to explore and to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help and inspire others.

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