At 22 years old, I have lived in four cities across three different countries. Each move has come with the gruelling process of saying goodbye to loved ones and cultivating a new social circle in an unfamiliar place. While others my age may find comfort in living in one place their entire lives, I find solace in knowing I have acquired something in my childhood that is invaluable: A large network of relationships. away
As the romanticization of letter writing, rotary dial phones, and life before technology grow, we can overlook how we are fortunate to today’s digital interconnectedness—one that no generation before us has been able to experience. With the invention of the cell phone, then FaceTime, and now Zoom, reuniting with family members, catching up with old friends, or sustaining a relationship from opposite sides of the country is easier than ever. With just the click of a button, lonely nights no longer seem as frightening as they once did.
In the past, a move to a different city meant the end of a friendship, and leaving for university meant only hearing a parent’s voice when returning home for the holidays. Now more than ever, students are leaving home to attend university somewhere new. For some, this decision is made easily upon the assurance that they can still connect with their hometown lives.
With the ongoing pandemic bringing about the rise of Zoom fatigue, it is common to take for granted the gift that is virtual communication. While Zoom meetings and isolated work environments are not ideal, early curfews and time indoors would be much harder without the technologies that currently occupy our days.
Ironically, it is these casual FaceTimes, three-hour-long phone calls to home, and Zoom parties where individuals vent frustrations about virtual life that make the situation a little more bearable. Michelle Yu, BCom ‘16, reflects on how staying in touch with her McGill friends has only strengthened their bonds since graduating, and has made it easier to continue these friendships as time passes.
“I think a big part of what is special with long distance relationships in today’s era is the sense of comfort that you can quickly slip back into when you are reunited,” Yu said in an interview with the McGill Tribune. “A lot of that is thanks to social media and technology. We’ve been given these tools that have allowed us to stay informed and engaged with our loved ones [….] It has really shown that relationships can stand the test of time and distance.”
In times of uncertainty, we often cling to familiarity. For students living abroad or university graduates starting a new chapter in a foreign city, reaching out to someone who understands your roots can help organize your thoughts and remind you of how far you’ve come. away