Going out of state for college is both exciting and terrifying. You’re away from home, surrounded by people who could potentially become your closest friends over the next four years. The downside, however, is that you are away from family. Whether you are someone who was thrilled to escape your family members or someone who can’t bear being away from them, here are some tips and tricks to keeping in touch with them.
Schedule a phone or Facetime date. Find at least two times every week that you are free for a good hour or so, and write in your planner to call your family. This doesn’t automatically commit you to a weekly phone call. However, it will make you consider calling, which is better than never thinking of calling at all.
Keep a small list of exciting events you can share with them. I don’t know about you, but it’s sometimes difficult for me to carry on a conversation with my mom if we haven’t spoken in a while. It isn’t that I don’t want to talk to her, but rather that I don’t know what to talk about! It’s frustrating because I KNOW that I have things to tell, but most times I have a difficult time thinking of things. Keeping a list of events helps give you topics to talk to your family about, and reminds you of funny stories that you can share.
Find a means of communication that works for you. For some family members, a weekly hour-long phone call is overkill, and for other family members it is too short. Know your family member, and know what kind of communication best works for keeping in touch with them. I have a friend back home that I never call or text. We write letters to each other instead! The letters don’t hold important information or anything, it’s just the way we have chosen to keep in contact with each other. For my parents (and many times, my sisters) I call or Facetime. I call my grandparents on the phone, and I Snapchat and Instagram DM my sisters. Again, we don’t have lengthy or deep conversations. The point for using Snapchat is that it’s quick, easy, and my sisters and I enjoy using it.
Send little care packages. My mom and dad were excellent at sending care packages my freshman year. I would be swamped with school and dying for sleep, and receiving those goodies saved my life countless times. Getting an email alert that I had received a package was priceless. Now. I understand that you are a poor college student with limited monetary resources, which are reserved only for food. However, there are easy and cheap ways to do this for parents and siblings. Instead of buying gifts for them, consider sending a paper or report that you wrote and are really proud of. Or if your school has a newspaper, maybe send that to them as a way of keeping them in the loop. For me, I’ve done both the previous two, and then an extra one. Now that my parents are empty-nesters, our beagles are their babies. I could send them little doggy treats, and they would be just as happy and excited as if I had sent the goodies for my parents.