The end of the semester is near!

After a semester of fun and hard work, it’s time to start saying goodbye to our new or old friends. Perhaps they’re graduating or off-track.

Maybe, throughout the course of the semester, you have met a special someone and started a relationship. However, there’s one problem: that person won’t be here next semester. I am here as an advocate for the dreaded long-distance relationship most of us seem to fear.

I, myself, have been in an long-distance relationship for three semesters. I met my boyfriend back home, and as the two of us are going to different schools in different states, we were left with only one option if we wanted to remain a couple: a long-distance relationship.

I was terrified to start a long-distance relationship because of all the horror stories I had heard.

I’m not going to lie: relationships are hard, but long-distance relationships are harder. It’s hard not seeing that special someone every day, but it is possible to keep the relationship strong.

Although I don’t claim to be an expert, I’ll let you in on a few things I’ve learned from my own relationship about how to help keep a relationship strong.

First, call your special someone. If you are in separate time zones, figure out a good time for both of you to talk. Hearing his or her voice often is great because you can only message each other so much before it gets boring. Since you can’t actually see each other, communicating is the only option to keep your relationship strong.

Even though I knew a lot about my boyfriend before we started dating, I have learned so much more about him simply by talking to him on a regular basis.

Second, try video calling. Whether you use FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangout, actually attempt to see each other even though you’re separated by distance. Seeing the other person through video helps give you a small glimpse of what it was actually like to be together.

Third, be as overly cute or romantic as you want. Since you two are not actually together, you can be as cute as you want, and no one will be there to judge you. Send funny pictures or selfies to each other. Do whatever you want, but do not be afraid of being too cute.

I once sent my boyfriend a package that said, “Sorry, I’m cheesy!” Inside the package were different cheesy snacks: Cheez-Its, cheesy Chex Mix, cheesy crackers and even cheesy Goldfish.

Fourth, put in the effort. The other person in the relationship can tell when you’re not trying as hard as usual to communicate. Putting in effort can be as simple as asking how his or her day went. Even though our day-to-day lives can seem boring, asking about the day shows you care.

As hard as the distance is, I wouldn’t trade my long-distance relationship for the world. Our relationship has grown much stronger because we have both made the effort to maintain our relationship.

We have a higher level of trust than I think we would have had before the long distance. We have learned more about each other than we would have together because we were, and still are, forced to talk and ask questions about each other.

Whatever the circumstance, don’t think of “goodbye” as a long-term thing.

Enjoy the experience, and who knows? Maybe we’ll hear wedding bells in the distance.