For many college students, starting college meant moving away from home. Some may have moved across the country, while others may have family and friends nearby. In either case, a lot of college students report that their relationships with family and friends shift somewhat after starting college. Some students say they feel anxiety about being “out of touch” or disconnected with their family and friends back home. Friends and family may also put pressure on you to keep in touch or show disappointment if you don’t call enough. The tension and balance between being present at college and keeping in touch with your family and friends back home can be a major source of relationship stress.
While it can feel lonely or scary to go through these relationship changes, it is a normal part of your development as a person. You are learning to be more independent, make new relationships, and become your own person. As you become more immersed in your college experience, you can decide how much contact feels right for you to have with your family and friends back home. Some may decide that calling home once every other week is enough for them, while others may communicate with far away family and friends on a daily basis.
If you do decide you want to stay in touch with family and friends, one of the biggest factors is making an effort to do so. Staying in contact with friends and family does not have to be a huge time commitment, especially in our age of social media. Texting, commenting on photos or posts, or sending Snaps can go a long way to maintaining relationships. Here are some other ways that you can keep in touch:
- Send actual mail – receiving a letter, package, or postcard can feel like a treat!
- Visit them or have them visit you
- Teach your parents how to use social media – this may feel awkward at first, but it can help you stay connected without having to spend hours on the phone
- Make time for both family and friends when you visit home
However much contact you decide to have with family and friends back home, do what makes sense for you. Trying to stay connected on a daily basis can work for some students, but create additional stress for others. If your family or friends are wanting more contact than is right for you, try setting boundaries about how much contact should be expected, and honor your commitments. This can help all parties involved feel a sense of ease because they know when or how often they will receive a call.