From England to America and beyond…

Tomorrow will always come sooner than we think and anyone can be snatched faster than we imagine possible, it’s the same principle when it comes to friends coming and going. It is a fact of life that many of us in this world will meet people who will enter like the morning sun and fill our lives with joy but will leave just as fast and be gone forever. Our job in this world is not to hang on to those people who are not destined to stay, but to hold onto the memory of them. Hold on to the way they made us feel and the good times that we had.

However, as much as this is true there are people we should hang onto. Just because primary school is over or high school ends, it does not mean we have lost those who we adore forever. It simply means that you are being tested by the universe to see if you can really stand the fight for true friendship. Personally I have lost loads of friends over the years – oh no, they’re not gone – they’re at different schools, colleges, some are even on different continents! The purpose of this post today is to simply outline how some of you who struggle with long distance relationships/friendships can in fact continue them and gain faith again that ‘goodbye’ is not the end, simply a new beginning.

I remember the first time I ever parted with school friends I actually valued was at the end of primary school in 2009 when I left for the holidays. I remember having a massive class who I loved dearly and sure there were some people I didn’t always get on with but at the same time it was still sad to even say goodbye to those who had made your life eventful for those five plus years!

Milton Hall Primary School Class of 2005

When it came to these people it seemed logical to just ‘stay in touch’ as our parents would put it, but it wasn’t always that simple. When you’re living in a county which has over eight different schools excluding private ones and people going elsewhere to live in new places, things didn’t always work out so smoothly. Some people we did end up losing for good, but others we held onto! I remembered organising one big primary school reunion which of course everyone at 11 decided was too ‘uncool’ to go to in the end because we all found our ‘phases’ such as the luminous tutu phase, goth, chav… You name it, someone went through it.

Storybook Day at Milton Hall Primary School

When some of the people I knew dropped off I still met those I cared about. Still went round people’s houses to play on the Play Station 2 and eat pizza and drink out of plastic cups… I held onto them. I got into The Salvation Army from a very young age and began to volunteer at a club there called XStream Club but before I volunteered I was a member and I struggled to make friends. In knowing that I had a friend from primary school who was up for doing new things I invited them to join me and the rest was history, we found ourselves both volunteering and having fun at the same space and still holding onto our friendship once a month. It’s not that hard to keep up appearances with good friends when you both work at something together!

Mini golf with the XStream Club

Although easy to stay friends between primary and secondary school it becomes apparent in secondary that families tend to move around a lot. I had one golden friend who I treasured dearly that was whisked away to Scotland when I was in year 9. At the time I didn’t cry or anything as I never saw it as a challenge, but as she moved away I saw how hard it can be to stay in touch with someone. For ages we had this idea that we would write letters to one another, but after about two we found that the time it took to send a letter and receive it that everything we were writing had totally changed because that one boy was no longer around or that horrible girl wasn’t bullying anymore and therefore the excited exchange fizzled out and Facebook became the new letter writing service for us. At first it was easy to stay in touch, neither of us took GCSEs seriously and we spoke all the time, but at life got in the way it was harder to speak and she could only come home around twice a year which was difficult considering catching up was such a long and jam-packed process no matter how enjoyable. However my little milklets, long distance friendships aren’t that daunting nor are they bad. Think of the positives, there are free places to stay when you’re holidaying in a different county and it is extremely exciting to go and visit each other when they are back, there is never nothing to speak about because there is always so much to speak about and they are always like a breath of fresh air because they become detached from this place and you can escape with them for a while. It’s easy to keep in contact with Facebook and phone calls, don’t let miles and roads get in the way of something beautiful because that is how people often miss out on the miraculous things (and the free holidays). *winky face*

I and Scottish pal still friends after many years.

Not only do friends move counties however, they also move countries! One friend I had announced that he was going to stay with his family in America which absolutely threw me aback because I had never had a friend move so far away before! As much as it was difficult to see him leave it was so nice to stay in touch through modern video calls like Skype and Snapchat! I believe that we make staying friends too difficult but it doesn’t have to be that way! We still have a group chat and still share secrets, when he comes home as a group we all go out and have fun like we used to and even plan trips. I’ve got a bonus as if I ever visit America I even have a place to stay! Video chat is a God-send for friendships and even relationships for some of you who believe that long distance relationships cannot work.

Nando’s send off meal for the American to be!

I understand as September is rapidly approaching that those I am at college with now and those I was at secondary school with just two years ago now will soon be four hours away from me as I attend university somewhere else, but my friends are drifting off to tons of different places too! As I stated above, I do not believe that holding onto each other is impossible as long as there is effort on both parts to stay in touch.

It is hard for me to know that I will be leaving my best friend behind and other close ones as that means fear strikes my heart to know that they might find someone as funny as me, someone as different, someone as ‘Emma’. However, confidence in a friendship is all we will need as people and the memories that we have created together are what will drive us forward into the next stage of our lives, bringing us closer together and strengthening the bond that we already hold.

Friendship to hold onto…

My tips for holding onto a friendship worth holding onto are simple, but unless both of you want it they will not work:

  • Invite them to do something you love and make it something you love together, keeping up appearances is easier that way!
  • Organise group reunions often to make sure you all know the latest gossip and are keeping up with the news!
  • Make the time to see one another when you are down and do cute things like looking at old photos to jog your memory of those good and bad times, having a little cry about how much you miss each other is okay too!
  • Social Media – Take advantage of this modern world! We have tons of social media platforms to stay in touch on so why not take advantage of them? Video chat is amazing as you’re practically in the same room and you can still hear that voice you’ve been missing so much!
  • Good old fashioned methods of staying in touch work just as well too! Letter writing, present sending! It makes everything just a little more personal!
  • Travel – If you can visit one another! Go and see them or even venture out together on a road trip like the good old days!

I know it is going to be one of the hardest things I have ever had to do to leave this place and go somewhere else especially without the physical support from my friends hugging me and telling me that everything is going to be okay, but this is certainly not going to be the end and I refuse to give up on them. If they do not push to message me then they will be getting extremely annoyed because I will not be leaving them alone.

I guess what I am trying to say today is that you need to hold on to the friends you have because you never know how long your little infinity is together. Time is a currency that we need to spend wisely and if we do not that is when it slips between our fingers. A shout out to all of you who I am not leaving behind but am parting with until we meet again, I will not give up on you. I want that to be known.

If any of you are leaving school or college out there soon, I hope you manage to hang on to your beautiful friends and that this parting also aids you in finding out which ones of your friends really care and those of them who don’t.

With love,

Emma xxxx

Belfairs Academy Prom 2014

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