Long-Distance Love: Five Tips for Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship

by Jessica Gregory

Just because you’re far apart, doesn’t mean you have to be apart.

It seems to be that time again. Midterms are over and we’ve settled into our routines for the year. We’re juggling classes, work, clubs, friends, and, if you’re like me, a long distance relationship. How in the world can we manage to keep that alive?

I won’t lie to you: long-distance relationships are challenging, but with these simple tips, you can handle the distance (and have a life where you are!).

Get in Touch with Your Emotions.

The physical element won’t always be there, so you will ultimately be forced to convey affection through words, gifts, and body language through the screen. Being aware of how you feel and accepting it will help you be honest about your role in the relationship. Amp up the emotional connection to whatever level you and your partner are comfortable with— show them that you care and send hugs with your words.

Talk, Talk, Talk!

If “short-distance” relationships need communication, long-distance ones need even more. We’re in a day and age where smart phones and social media make communication a whole lot more accessible, so use them! Send short updates about your life via your chosen social medium as often as you can, ask about theirs, and don’t forget those cute heart emoticons from time to time. Communication will bring their life and yours together and will also help in maintaining honesty and trust between you two. And please, don’t forget that it is absolutely okay to have a disagreement with your long-distance S.O. It won’t automatically ruin your relationship—in fact, it can make it stronger!

Spend Time Together (Even if You’re Not Together).

Guess what? You can go on dates long-distance. Time differences can sometimes make this harder, but you can still do it. For example, watch the same movie either together or separately, then talk about it. Perhaps join an online chatroom together, compete in little game competitions (we all love a good game once in a while), eat dinner while vid-chatting, or pick a DIY project and compare results. Get creative! You may have to sacrifice some time with your friends to be with them, but it is a necessary sacrifice if you want to keep that flame going.

Remember that it’s YOUR Relationship.

So many people will give you well-meaning advice. So many people will throw statistics at you on the success rate of your relationship or ask you how you can handle the lack of physical contact or tell you exactly why you aren’t being “smart”. Filter those voices out, because listening to those who aren’t in your relationship has its limits. Okay, so they’ve been through it before, but their relationship, no matter how similar, IS NOT yours. Their relationship’s failure does not spell doom for yours any more than their success means the same for you. You can talk every day or once a week if that’s what your relationship needs. You can visit every month or once every two years if that’s what you want. The relationship belongs to you and your S.O. and no one else, so enjoy and spread the love!

Jessica Gregory is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing. She is in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend of three years who attends Virginia Commonwealth University.

Image courtesy of The Root.

How to Have a Great Valentine’s Day 2014

by Molly Scott

Make this your love boat.

I think it’s safe to say that people generally either love or hate Valentine’s Day. The madness of the “holiday” has already begun in most stores (proof: half of Duane Reade has been taken over by red and pink heart-shaped goodies). No matter what your opinion is, we’ve created a list of some things to do with your significant other, your friends, and other fun picks to make your February 14th the best it’s ever been!

Go out and enjoy it! Whether you’re going out with your partner or a group of friends, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday night so get out and have fun. If you’re looking for a romantic location, TimeOut New York has come up with the best cheap romantic restaurants in NYC. The list includes: Corsino, El Quinto Pino, Esperanto, Kashkaval, Le Barricou, Mesa Coyoacan, Moustache, and Northern Spy Food Co.

Take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Bundle up and take the 1 Train all the way down to South Ferry – the terminal is literally right there. It’s a free ride and the views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty are beautiful (and oh so romantic too). Check the schedule for departures.

Go bowling! This is a great activity for both a group of friends and as a couple. Some bowling alleys in Manhattan include Bowlmor, Lucky Strike, and Frames, and they have restaurants and bars too! Be sure to make a reservation ASAP though (they fill up quickly).

Host a Galentine’s Day! On Thursday night, February 13, honor Leslie Knope’s brilliant idea of Galentine’s Day by celebrating your amazing girlfriends with a gathering that features tons of food! It’s a fun way to appreciate one another and take your mind off Valentine’s Day in general.

Go wild with the desserts and sweets. If all else fails (or even if it doesn’t), dessert is always a good idea. TimeOut New York also came out with a list of amazing NYC bakeries that carry delicious Valentine’s Day treats: Baked by Melissa, Jacques Torres Chocolate, MacarOn Café, Billy’s Bakery (a personal favorite of mine), La Maison du Chocolat, and Max Brenner. There’s also Mondel Chocolates only a few blocks away. Last resort – there’s a ton of candy and chocolate being sold at pharmacies everywhere.

Molly Scott is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

A Thanksgiving Lesson

by Molly Scott

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” -Marcel Proust

A little over a year ago, Hurricane Sandy hit my hometown in New Jersey. The storm had a fairly big impact on my family, but luckily, we were not totally devastated as many of our friends and neighbors were. I can remember the morning after the storm hit, my mother calling me and telling me the damage that had been done and that my car had been completely destroyed by the flood waters. It had been my great-grandparent’s car that they used during their last years of life. Memories of driving my friends to high school every morning, to my field hockey games, and even to the SATs suddenly flooded my mind. At the time though, I remember only feeling grateful that my family was safe and sound, not a sense of grief over the car.

Weeks passed and suddenly Thanksgiving was upon us. The days preceding the holiday were filled with family members sorting through belongings that held precious memories that were either destroyed by the water or had just barely survived. Thanksgiving evening in our house was somber and tense; it seemed as if we could speak of nothing but the storm. We would continually acknowledge, though, how lucky we were out considering the loss many others had experienced. Things got better and better as the weeks and months progressed, as did our family’s mood.

Over the course of the past year, I have learned many lessons and have grown significantly as a person. Watching the people of my town come together throughout the year has been incredible to watch and restores my faith in the ability for humans to be selfless when times call for it. Although it may sound cliché, the most important lesson I have learned from this storm is that we must be grateful for the people in our lives. They are the ones who love us, who get us through the hard times, and are really all we have in life. I know that this Thanksgiving will be much more joyous in our house than last year’s and that we will undoubtedly acknowledge the love we have for one another.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The staff of The Nine Ways of Knowing would like to wish everyone and their families a happy, healthy Thanksgiving and safe travels home.

Molly Scott is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Image courtesy of Molly Scott.