By Michelle Lampariello
With a packed schedule and a stressed out, overwhelmed mindset to match, it can be hard to remember to make time for your family as a college student. As homework and extracurricular activities pile up, it can be tempting to sneak in an extra 20 minutes of sleep instead of calling home. While it’s healthy, and encouraged, to make new friends in college who become like a second family to you, it’s even more important to not forget your real family as you enjoy life at the College.
Before I started my freshman year, I worried about how I would handle living away from my family. I was the kid who cried myself sick during overnight field trips and had to be picked up early — how would I last for weeks away from my parents and sister?
But as I adjusted to life as a college student and grew closer to my new friends, I began to see how fortunate I was to have a family that supported me the way mine did. Their unwavering encouragement was not necessarily better, but different from the support that I received from my friends. My family’s unconditional love shone through every text, call or care package I received from them, especially on days when I was feeling particularly homesick.
I cringed when they stuck articles that I wrote or deans lists that I made to our fridge, but then I smiled. I realized that even if I wasn’t physically right there with them, they were just as proud of me. While friends are a crucial part of our lives and support systems, we must remember that our families love us in a way that no one else can.
You don’t need to come home from college every weekend to make time for your family. You don’t need to call every day, nor do you need to immediately respond to every text. You just need to respect and show love to the people who loved you before you ever made a friend.
Make the most out of the time you have together over breaks from school — take a sibling out for lunch, spend some time with your grandparents or help your parents make dinner. When you are at school, reach out and catch up when you can, but understand that your family knows how busy you are with the delicate balance of school, sleep and a social life. They don’t expect to hear from you constantly — they just want to make sure you’re doing well and that you didn’t forget about them.
Most of us would not be able to celebrate our successes today without acknowledging the help we received along the way from our family members. There is nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to making time for and keeping in touch with the people who love you most.