Doing the long-distance thing in college? You're not alone. We did it and now we're getting married! Here are my best tips.

College is meant to be four years of going crazy, doing whatever you want, staying up late and being single.

At least that’s what I was told. When I began my relationship in high school, I didn’t imagine it would last through four years of colleges that were six hours apart, doing our own things, and making our own friends. I heard horror story after horror story about relationships that didn’t last and my friends begging me to not let myself go through this misery.

Nevertheless, I entered into the so-called death wish that is the long distance relationship.

I definitely had a warped perception of the meaning of college when I entered it, so I expected not to come out on the other side with my same boyfriend. Even more so, I didn’t expect to find so much clarity and grow in myself–something I didn’t know college would do to me.

Maintaining my LDR in college was not easy, but it was quite worth it at the end of our four years apart. A huge key to fostering and supporting this relationship? Communication.

How sick are you of hearing that advice? It’s a simple statement that sounds a LOT easier that it actually is.

When people say, “just communicate better,” I go crazy. Communication is a simple word, a task we do everyday, yet is one of the most difficult things to improve.

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I find even companies with closer relationships have trouble with internal communication as well; it’s just a skill that takes time and commitment to enhance.

If you’re in a long-distance relationship in college, I have some advice for you.

Plan time together.

It’s hard to expect meaningful conversation if both of you are running around all day. Even though small text messages are nice, it’s important to set aside time to dig into real conversation, the kind of conversation you’d have if you were in the same room.

If you have even more time, I am a big fan of the side-by-side Netflix and Skype side screen for a makeshift movie night. And don’t forget to carve out weeks or weekends in your busy schedules (if possible) to visit each other–you deserve it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff–but speak up when you’re not happy.

LDRs can obviously put a lot of roadblocks in front of you, causing miscommunication and small mishaps. Small issues are likely to come up; don’t let them define your relationship moving forward.

When you’re in the same room as your S.O., it’s also easier to pick up on body cues and nonverbal language that can sometimes resolve arguments. Obviously, texting isn’t quite a good substitute for that. As stubborn as you want to be, don’t let it affect your relationship long-term, and speak up when you want to mention that something’s not right.

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Don’t let the big arguments build up without talking through them.

Work on yourself.

Your relationship is important, but college is a prime time for self-development and discovery. Use the extra time you have to push forward and work on yourself. Communicate your goals to each other and lean on each other for inspiration.

Being a better person and accomplishing these self-development and growth goals will also make your relationship stronger; when you know yourself, you can be a better communicator, motivator and friend. Discovering who you really are is the an essential piece of making your relationship stronger and healthier.

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Treat yo’self–I mean it.

You’re allowed to have bad days and nights when you just miss your S.O. more than anything. So buy the pizza, splurge on the skirt, and watch another episode on Netflix. There is nothing more valuable than treat yo self time when you’re missing someone that you can’t be with. Spend it alone–or surrounded by your friends–but the next day­, pick yourself up and remember the reason for your situation. Someday the countdown will be over and until then, you’ve got this.

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Are you (or were you) in an LDR in college? How did you handle it?