The music starts and your class marches in and then with a handshake and a diploma, it’s all over. Graduation was the final step and now life is about to change. But with today’s advanced technology, our best friends in high school do not have to become distant memories once we arrive at college. With a little effort and large amount of social networking, we don’t have to drift away from the people that have been there since the beginning.

Facebook has helped our generation not only stay connected with our friends, but still know what’s going on with the acquaintances we graduated with. Facebook is the total package as it lets you post on friend’s pages and chat on IM with them.

Skype is one outlet that closes the gap on distance. With only one video chat, you and your best friends can “hang out” together via the Internet. Whether it’s listening to music together, just chatting, or watching TV or a movie at the same time, Skype helps bridge the gap between friends who went to schools many miles apart.

Twitter also helps friends stay in contact. Twitter allows you to have certain people’s tweets sent to your phone. This technique helps you and your hometown friends keep in touch because direct connection is being sent to you. When you see a tweet from your friends it can be a conversation starter with that person by texting them or tweeting them back in response to their tweet.

These three social networks may be the obvious websites to help keep your friendships afloat; but there are many other ways to keep a long distance best friend. Once you arrive at college you will soon find out who your true friends are. College helps acknowledge what hometown friends want to be lifelong friends and which ones will soon become friends from your past.

Sending handwritten letters or a care package to your friend’s dorm shows the dedication you have to the friendship. While sending a text or making a phone call is important, so is going the extra mile.

Social networks like FormSpring, Tumblr, and Live Journal allow you to get to know your friends even as they grow and change into an adult in college. FormSpring allows you to view your friends’ answers to questions that were asked by other FormSpring users. You can also ask our friends questions and get feedback. Tumblr and Live Journal are blogs that give you access into friends’ journals about life, pictures, quotes and media. You can see at any time of the day how life is really going for them.

Social networking has helped our entire world advance in staying in touch with others who are far away.  It is important to stay connected and learn to be open to change. It is one of the major keys in keeping your hometown best friends. But sometimes people grow apart. Therefore, its important to not only be part of the social world, but to also keep friendship rituals in tact such as shopping trips, amusement park trips, road trips and attending concerts together. Remember, once the diploma is in hand, life will immediately start throwing you friendship curve balls but advanced technology and common interests can help you out one step at a time.

Jenna Cusumano is an NSCS member from Springfield, Illinois studying at Illinois State University. She is a freshman majoring in Journalism with a minor in Cinema Studies. You can follow Jenna on Twitter @Jcus2010.