I’m a lucky person: I get to go home to both of my parents, I’m close with my siblings, I have an emotionally questionable/maybe psycho dog. One big, happy (most of the time) family. Believe me when I say that I understand that that is not frequently the case homes across the country today. It’s not that I haven’t realized that before; I’m just feeling particularly grateful for it now.
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: college will challenge you. Everyone goes through it. Your whole life changes—new environment, new people, new classes. New everything. Sometimes you just really need to call your mom. Or your dad. Or your siblings. Or facetime your (maybe) psycho dog.
I’ve done all of the above this year. If we’re being really honest, the better part of this semester has kicked my ass. I constantly overextend myself and my sleep schedule is so out of whack that even when I have time to sleep in, my body doesn’t let me.
I am aware of this; I continue to stay extremely involved anyway because I do not know how to function when I’m not busy (this is a topic for another day I suppose). I’m used to my hectic lifestyle and how it affects me. When I choose to stay up well past midnight to finish a paper because I didn’t have time in between rehearsals, I know how I’ll feel about it the next morning.
What I’ve been reflecting on lately, however, is that I’m not the only person that that choice affects.
My mom picked me up from campus the other day to go grab dinner (one of the many privileges I can exercise as someone who goes to college less than half an hour from their home). As I was catching her up on my life and hearing about the word on the street at home, it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t called her to talk—really talk, like more than a surface level “I’m good…not much…love you…” etc., etc.—in God only knows how long.
And I didn’t like that feeling.
I texted my dad the other day to ask for some internship advice. All I said to start the conversation was “Hey, do you have time to talk right now?” And his almost-immediate response was “anything for my daughter!”
I didn’t answer for another hour or so because I had to run off to another rehearsal.
We joke about it at home—about forgetting to call for weeks because we’re “just too busy for home” or not answering a text for hours because we just didn’t see it. I don’t know if I’m just particularly bad at communicating or if this situation is common for college students but realizing how prevalent it is in my life made me feel like an exceptionally bad daughter.
I know that my family supports me no matter what, that they want me to live my own life and grow into an independent, self-sufficient person. That’s what college is about, after all—fostering that independence.
While I’ve been busy learning how to be my own person, however, I seem to have forgotten that I’m not the only one experiencing change. My parents are too, and I was clueless enough to ignore that for the better part of 2 years.
Sometimes you just really need to call home for your own sake; but don’t forget that sometimes home needs you to call just as badly.