I have an older sister, so I never had to wonder what going off to college looked like. No, I didn't get to fully experience it with her (seeing as how she was two and a half hours away at UNCW), but I got enough of a glimpse into her life that I understood everything that came along with going off to college. That said, even having an older sibling go through different stages of life before you never fully prepares you for what comes next.
When I went to college, I was overwhelmed by everything thrown at me. It wasn't the first time I'd worked, been a full-time student, and had extracurricular activities on top of that, but everyone expected my very best every second of every day. That was new for me. Not that in high school I hadn't wanted to be that way (I was a low key perfectionist in that regard), but there was never the pressure like there was in college.
So as time went on and I got lost in the whirlwind of classes, work, and campus organizations, the past 18 years of my life growing up in small-town North Carolina got pushed to the back burner.
I'm sure there are some people judging me insanely hard at this point, saying, "how could you possibly forget your family?" Well, don't worry, I never forgot them, I just seemingly forgot that there was this nifty technology called cell phones and that with a simple press of a button it would call home. What that means is that there would be long periods of time when I wouldn't talk to my family.
Never once did I forget them, or love them any less, I just failed to prioritize giving them a call with all of my new found freedom and responsibilities.
Sophomore year of college, I told myself I was going to be better and call my parents more often. Notice, I never gave myself a set amount of times to call every week. Same as with any terribly, unspecific goal I've ever made I failed to live up to it, but this time around it was even worse because I started getting more involved and my time was spread thinner. Thus making the already limited phone calls dwindle even further.
This pattern continued on as my parents would complain and beg me to call them more often, but I still failed to make it a priority. Maybe it was because I knew I would never live up to my older sister, who called every single night on her way home from work, or maybe I did get lost in all that I'd committed myself to. Either way isn't an excuse, and I knew that. I just never found it in me to change the habit.
Well, that was until this semester. I don't know what changed between fall semester junior year and now, but now I'm the one calling my parents countless times a week to complain or talk to them about my life. By no means am I perfect in calling, and sometimes our conversations don't last more than a couple of minutes, but for once I've taken the initiative to carve out time in my day to remind my parents that I haven't forgotten them and I do love them.
So to my family, I'm sorry it took me nearly three years to wise up and realize that, no matter how busy I am, I always have time to call home. I'm sorry I got caught up in the life I built for myself in Chapel Hill and occasionally forget about the place I called home for 18 years. I'm sorry if I ever made you feel as if I don't love you because that is so far from the truth.
Please know that I can't promise you that I'm going to call home every single night, but I can promise you I will be better and call more often. I love you all so much and am beyond thankful for the support and encouragement you never fail to give.
To all the freshman, and the seniors who are graduating in May then heading off to college, I don't care how busy you think you are or what all you're involved with, never forget to call home. I don't care if it is a minute long conversation about what you ate for breakfast that morning, call home because your parents deserve that much. They understand you're busy and have a life at school, but they care for you and love you. Show them the same respect.