By Christen McGlynn
Summer is the first thing on students minds once finals are over because it means freedom from exams, late night study sessions, and exhausting classes that never seem to end. It was always a season I looked forward to until this past year, when summer also meant putting 219 miles between my boyfriend, Jeff, and myself. Coming in as a freshman, relationships were the last thing on my mind until junior year when it all changed. I found myself making long distance trying to work. I wasn’t exactly enthralled about the situation at first; however, with only a couple weeks left until were back in Champaign, we seem to have made it through.
Knowing that a four hour car ride was not a casual drive, there are a couple things that helped us, and could assist any other Illini trying to make their relationships survive the summer:
1. Making a two week rule
Jeff and I decided we would try our best to see each other once every two weeks. Whether it may be a simple visit, or a planned weekend activity, knowing there was a time limit until our next meeting made time go by faster.
2. Explore each other’s differences
Jeff comes from a small farm town in southern Illinois, while I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago my entire life. Living in such different places made our visits more exciting: he showed me what farm life was like, and I took him to his first meal at Portillo’s (shocking, I know).
3. Technology, technology, technology
Snapchat became our best friend, and FaceTime allowed us to act as if we were in the same room. Although it’s not the same as being in person–surprising your significant other with a goofy picture or fun video is always a nice reminder that they are thinking of you.
Making plans in advance helped us to look forward to the next time we could see each other, and Champaign always acted as a meeting-buffer in between our two home towns. This summer has changed my previously negative perspective on long distance relationships–they can work. However, I think we are both thankful school will be back in session, and our homes will be in a two minute walking distance (FINALLY!).
Jeff and I on one of our summer dates: the Chicago Cubs vs. the St. Louis Cardinals (Photo courtesy of Christen McGlynn)