College is amazing. You can meet a bunch of new people and start lasting friendships. With everything going on, it can be easy to lose touch with the people you love the most. Coming from someone who's been there, I would be one of the first people to tell you how hard it can be.
Here are some tips to keep in touch with your family as you start the new chapter of your life:
1. Have dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) in your phone.
Having dates in your phone with notifications about a week before the actual date gives you enough time to send a card in the mail before the big day. I say a week because due to the way my school mail system works, it takes about a week for mail to arrive. If you go to a school where the mail has a different timeframe, plan accordingly.
2. The Dollar Tree has some cute budget-friendly cards.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to celebrate events. The Dollar Tree has a 2/$1 section for every occasion. While they do not have bulk cards (unless you want thank you notes) other places sell them cheap, such as Hobby Lobby. Other places have excellent deals during major sales events.
3. Buying Forever stamps saves money.
On the off chance you don't use all of your stamps during the year, having Forever stamps decreases the chance of not being able to use the stamps next year by 100%. Forever stamps last "forever" (duh!), so as the market changes stamp prices, yours will still work.
4. Write back to people if they send you a letter.
Relatives and others will hopefully send mail to you during the year. Responding to them is a good way of communicating. This is particularly useful for older relatives who have a hard time using phones and social media. Also, it's just fun to get cards and special little gifts in the mail.
5. Send quick texts if you hear/see/etc. something that reminds you of someone.
The best way to have people keep you in the back of their mind is to send little texts/notes to them. If singing along to Eminem with your bestie was something you did and one of his songs comes on, text them to let them know you're thinking of them. If baking cookies with your mom was fun, let her know you just mastered how to make a hard recipe.
6. Set a day and time to call your family.
Even though you're away at college, your parents still want to talk to you! The problem starts when you call and they aren't available. Setting a day(s) and time can be a sure way to be able to talk.
7. Social media is a must.
If you have a social media account, it can be super easy to include people in your life. Tag your family in pictures of you at school through Facebook and Instagram. Apple has photo share with other Apple users to create albums so family can see what you're doing. If you see something that reminds you of someone, tag them in it (like said in #6).
Staying in touch with your family and friends can be hard while you're in college. With some new habits and learning how to use the mail system at your school, it can become easier to talk to people. Just remember, although time is going by for you, your family and friends don't have any idea what's going on in your life. Communicating with everyone is just as important as being able to keep up your grades. So go forth and keep writing!