Make time for family and old friends
July 20, 2016
When I graduated from grade school in 2009 (yikes), I was terrified of losing touch with the seven best friends I’d spent the past ten years growing up with. Between the eight of us, we were going on to four different high schools, and I was certain that by the time I graduated, I would no longer have anyone to reminisce with about the joys (and many frustrations) of our time at Notre Dame School.
Boy was I wrong. Now approaching my senior year of college, my grade school friends are still some of the most important people in my life. Making new friends and seeing each other less in high school didn’t mean there was no longer room or time in my life for old friends; when I left for college, I knew that keeping in touch with my preschool pals and high school buddies was a guarantee.
The start of your freshman year is full of fun experiences and new, interesting people. Often, it’s easy to let checking in on friends and family fall by the wayside when you’re balancing making new friends, going to class, joining new clubs and figuring out that darn bus system.
I know, I know, some days you’ll feel like you barely have time to brush your teeth–please, for everyone’s sake, make time for that–but prioritizing the people who stayed by you through your awkward phase or who may be footing the bill for your education (hint hint, Mom and Dad) will make you a happier person.
Your friends from home want to hear about what you’re up to, the new friends you’re making and the cute guy or girl in your CMN 101 class. Your mom wants to know that you’re eating enough, and your dad wants to make sure you know that you can’t date until you’re married. If you have siblings — especially younger siblings — check in with them too. Don’t just ask your parents for an update on the family; call or text them individually to stay clued in on everything they have going on. Your friends and family can’t go to college with you, but they want to feel a part of things, so keep them in the loop.
Fortunately, you don’t have to use a payphone like your parents did when they were in college. This means you can call friends and family on your walk to class, or as you’re laying in bed looking for something watch on Netflix. Texting is an easy way to stay in touch, but sometimes it’s nice to hear a familiar voice or see a loved one’s face.
And when all else fails, encourage visits. If you’re from Illinois, chances are your family lives just a couple of hours away–invite them to take a day trip to campus, even just for lunch. Most of my friends from home stayed in the Midwest for college, which means we’re all just a short drive away from each other. In October, my high school friends are planning to visit campus for the Illinois-Purdue football game. Weekend trips are a great way to stay close to old friends and also give you the opportunity to meet your friends’ friends or introduce them to yours.
Be warned: staying in touch can be tough sometimes. You might play phone tag with your dad for a few days, and trying to find a weekend that both you and your best friend are free might prove near impossible, but making the effort is crucial. Of course, you’ll go home for breaks and summers, so don’t fret about being gone for too long, but staying up-to-date throughout the year makes those breaks so much more exciting.
Abigale is a senior in LAS.