I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends

Life&Style writer Caitlin Steele explains the importance of keeping in touch with friends from home while you are at university

Oh, John and Paul, truer words have never been spoken. Out of my group of friends, I was one of the few who headed straight for university. With friends continuing with education at home, to travelling to Australia, it was the first time in seven years that we hadn’t been together basically all day, every day. The first few weeks of university were a huge change to say the least, as I adjusted to a new city, a new schedule, and a severe lack of sleep. To make it even weirder, I was doing it on my own – I was doing something totally different to my best friends. But I cannot express how grateful I am we made the effort to stay in touch (not that I ever had any doubt in my mind that we wouldn’t!). Their messages, updates on what they’d been up to, stupid selfies and amusing anecdotes made me laugh, cheering me up if I ever felt a bit lost.

When I first saw the premise for an article discussing ‘keeping in touch with old school friends’, I couldn’t believe what would undoubtedly turn out to be a (slightly cringe) impassioned ode to my best friends would actually count as real journalism. But when I thought about it further, the importance of the topic became undoubtedly clear. I doubt I would have felt so settled into university life were it not for the visits to and from my friends, and the constant advice and laughter that was always only a Skype call away. I love that when I return home, whether for a weekend or for the longer holidays, I have a wide range of friends to catch up with, with so many different experiences and stories to hear about. I love hearing about the big developments, like the new guy they’re seeing, or the new job they have, to the equally important Snapchats asking my opinion on a certain top in the Boohoo sale.

I have been lucky enough to always have a tight-knit group of friends, but moving to university really emphasised that to me. When things seem new and daunting, sometimes it takes someone who’s known you for years to put things into perspective. Though I never doubted I would always remain in touch with my closest friends, another wonderful thing about moving to university is that you stay in touch with people you might not expect to. As none of my best friends went to university this year, it was especially nice to catch up with other friends that did, meeting for coffee over the holidays and swapping stories, experiences and gossip. Parties and pres at home become even more fun when you’ve been away, again reuniting you with people you may not have initially expected to remain in touch with. Old school friends remind you of the great memories you shared, prompting five-year-old inside jokes and making sure you never forget that awful haircut/crush/outfit. They provide perspective, and remind you of home.

I could not be more grateful to have the friends that I have today, and I have no doubt in my mind that they are friends for life. They drop everything when I need them, are always a shoulder to cry on, and make me laugh until my sides hurt. I use the phrase “best friend” as frequently and easily as a year seven, but I really, truly mean it. When a friend is on the other side of the world, but you remain as close as ever, staying up ‘til 3am laughing like you’re together, you realise how lucky you are. For me, keeping in touch with my friends helped me throughout this year, providing reassurance, guidance, laughter and memories. Thank you for everything (because I know you’re reading this).


11th April 2017 at 7:40 pm

Images from