Keeping in Touch with the Family
College is a liberating experience. For many students, it’s their first time being away from their family for an extended period of time. Now, while it’s easy to get absorbed in this newfound sense of freedom and autonomy, it is important to keep in touch with your family because this separation is also a new experience for them. While every family has its unique dynamics and needs, there are a few universal things that can be done to maintain a healthy relationship with your family during your college years.
Keeping Them in the Know
Family members take care of one another and take interest in one another’s problems and struggles, and it’s hard for this to occur if your parents have no idea what’s going on in your life. As such, it’s important for you to keep them up-to-date. It doesn’t have to be anything life-changing: things like your classes, your clubs, your dining halls, places you’ve visited, friends you’ve made. These are the things that will keep your family aware of your affairs. My parents love to hear about my academic progress, so when I talk to them, I generally tell them about upcoming midterms and my current grades. When you’re informing your family about your life, please exercise prudence and judgment. If your parents are straightedge, it would be unwise to chronicle your drinking escapades last night. Different families have different restrictions on certain behaviors, and it’s not my place to judge anyone, but just make sure you’re aware of your individual case and avoid conflict.
Communicating on a Consistent Basis
The transition between everyday contact and infrequent phone conversations is a big one. Therefore, it’s important to communicate with your family on a consistent basis. This doesn’t mean you have to call your family every day of the semester, but calling once or twice a week for 10 minutes would be a good idea. Also, if you establish a once or twice weekly schedule of calling, make sure to follow through for the entire semester. If you suddenly stop calling them for two weeks straight, they may start to get concerned. If for whatever reason you can’t call them as frequently, let them know. (Text messages or emails could work.)
Visiting or Video-Chatting
Talking on the phone, while good for communicating information, isn’t the best way of connecting with your family during college. Seeing your family in person is definitely the best way to go. There are certainly financial and spatial barriers to this, especially if you’re out-of-state, so video-chatting is the next best thing.
Doing Something Special for Them
Calling and video-chatting are excellent ways of staying in touch with your family, but those alone cannot convey the affection and love of a family. Doing something other than conventional communication, however, will. One thing you could do is hand-write a letter and send it via snail mail. It might be inefficient, but letters are one of the most heartfelt ways of communication that really shows dedication. Something else to try, if money isn’t an issue, is send your folks something. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive: a cliché mug, a box of Ghirardelli chocolates, or even a postcard can suffice. Anything to show your family you still remember.
Why Does This Matter?
After reading all the ways to keep in touch with your folks, you might be wondering why exactly it’s so important. There are two main reasons. First, it’s important to have a support network during college, and what better support can you get than those who’ve been helping you out your entire life. Second, you’re not the only one separated from your family; your family also has to live without you. This isn’t necessarily a tragedy, but it will be a new experience, and you should remember them while you’re away having a blast at college.
Article by Billal Ahmed
Feature Image Source: Mashable