Many of the best friends you will make in life will be met during college. Those people who you get to know in the heady hedonism of a house party in Freshers week, those people who you bond with on night's out or between classes, as you share your mutual appreciation of music, films, books etc. The first true friends you make as a legitimate adult.
While they might end up becoming some of your best friends, they really haven't put in the same kind of hard yards that your friends from home had to. Your home friends were the ones who knew you, and stuck with you, before you'd developed into an actual, functioning person. They were the ones who you shared in your awkward teenage years with; the ones who know everything there is to know about you, the ones who know your deepest, darkest secrets. As such, they are the friends to who you have an unequaled connection, and are probably worth keeping on side what with the whole 'knowing your deepest, darkest secrets' malarkey.
During college though it can be all too easy to fall out of touch with these friends, or simply to just end up seeing far less of each other than you'd like. That's why it's always worth clearing time to make the journey to visit them.
1) Long-Distance Relationship (Platonic):
As with any long-distance relationship messaging, and the occasional call, can only carry things so far. After a certain point though, you'll have to bite the bullet, face the facts, butter the biscuit and accept that if you want to keep that friendship going, you've got to hop on board a train and head down to visit Gary in UCC. (Your choice of childhood friend may vary).
2) You Get To Mooch Off Their Generosity:
Aside from winning yourself copious brownie-points as a friend for taking the time to go and visit, as a broke student you can also use this trip to your advantage. Your friend will no doubt be attempting to play host and will be more than happy to ply you with food and drink at their house. Live off their largesse. Mooch off the sweet fruits that this friendship has yielded. It is for this, for this perfunctory pasta meal and can of warm continental lager, that you spent all those years playing heads and volleys with Gary as a teen, these are your rewards. Savour them. (Again, your choice of childhood friend may vary).
3) Escape The Madness Of College Life:
Taking the time to visit a friend can also provide some welcome respite from the madness of your own existence in college. When you are in the midst of floundering through the flurry of assignments and essays that have been shunted your way by seemingly every tutor you've come into contact with, rather than attempting to create some kind of timetable and systematically work through them in a measured and managed way, you should drop everything and take an impromptu holiday. What better way to escape your own educational woes and stresses than by visiting a friend and seeing how much of a shambles their college life is by way of comparison.
4) Invaluable Living Tips:
Living as a student is a lifestyle that is utterly unique. Though you may have a roof over your head and four walls around you, you need to possess the kind of wily resourcefulness exhibited by our hunter-gatherer ancestors. A paucity of resources, financial and material, drives every college student to become adept at re-using, re-cycling, re-purposing what they already have.For instance, I once knew a man (Gary from UCC) who repurposed a kettle to be a noodle maker. He would pop a pack of instant noodles into its depths, pour in the flavour dust, hit boil and, when the kettle was boiled, out would pour some perfectly made noodles. Going to visit a friend, living in a different part of the country, is almost like an anthropological research mission. You can go to see how they live, see what tricks they have developed to help them survive, and you can bring back what you learned of their culture.
5) Getting To Re-Connect:
Mostly though, it's an excuse to hang out with someone who you've probably been friends with for years, and who you hope you will remain a friend for many more. It's important to realise that through college and after it's important to make the effort to stay in touch and to plan a trip to see each other.
6) Basking In The Luxury Of Travel:
When you are returning, after your trip - your body wracked with exhaustion from the excesses of your visit - there are few things more comforting than being gently lulled to sleep on a train. Surely, it is everyone's ultimate fantasy, when they are feeling tired and delicate after a night out, to have a trolley full of snacks wheeled right to them.