My roommates and I hosted our first party just three days after we had moved into our apartment. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best idea. Hot on the heels of cleaning what was probably three years of accumulated dust off of every surface, we found ourselves feverishly preparing to host what seemed like an impossibly large group of our friends.
However, as soon as the first two guests arrived, the feeling of potential regret that had been looming over me disappeared. The party ran smoothly, and as friends who I hadn’t seen face-to-face in months arrived I began to feel more and more confident in our decision to have people over.
The beginnings of each of my years at the University of Minnesota have been vastly different in terms of friendships. My freshman year, I was determined to make as many friends as possible for fear of not making any lasting friendships at school. I spent the summer before my sophomore year lamenting with my friends the fact that none of us were together in Minneapolis. As a junior this year, I came back to the University feeling disconnected from many of my friends who I had left behind in the Twin Cities while I left the Midwest in pursuit of an internship.
As an introvert and a reluctant communicator, I found it difficult to stay in contact with most of my far-away friends over the course of the summer. As summer dragged on, I felt like I was losing touch with a significant number of my friends on campus. Intermingled feelings of loneliness and nostalgia plagued me as I longed to see my current friends and reminisced about the ones I had fallen out of touch with.
Having a slew of reunions in one night at my party reminded me of how much I value my friendships and how much I want to become better at maintaining them. The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to reignite old relationships that may have fallen victim to school-induced stress in the past. While reorganizing your schedule and getting back into the jarring swing of school, take time to send a quick text to the person who lived a few doors down from you your freshman year. Ask the person from one of your previous classes that you’ve been dying to get to know better out for coffee. Even a quick, “Hey, hope your semester is starting off well!” text can help to nourish a connection that hasn’t been active for months or years.
In the face of the stress of school and adult life, interpersonal relationships may not seem like a priority, but, to the contrary, they are actually an important source of stress relief and support. Although throwing a party three days after moving in may not have been my best decision, I am incredibly thankful for the people that I was able to reconnect with. Reawakening friendships that may have fallen dormant in semesters past is not only emotionally rewarding, but helps us to ease back into life on campus.