As you start (or continue) on this new adventure that is college, you are faced with a new challenge: keeping in touch with your family and friends from home. Between the hundreds or thousands of miles between you, the different time zones, and your crazy-busy college student schedule, it can seem impossible to stay close with your relatives while in school. Here are seven tips to make the distance easier to handle.
1. Send them a copy of your schedule.
Before you left for college, your parents knew (for the most part) about your class schedule, your whereabouts, and your club activities. They could check up on you at the end of the day to make sure you were alright. Now that you’re away from them, they might get worried about you, knowing that they’re not there to protect you. To help them go through this transition, you might want to send them a copy of your class schedule. If you’re really close to them, you could even share your Google calendar with them. It sounds silly, but it will reassure your parents about how things are going in college, it will help them picture you in an environment unfamiliar to them and help them remember that you are busy doing great things. It also makes it easier for them to know when to call you.
2. Send them good morning and goodnight texts.
Let your family know that you’re thinking of them when you wake up or when you go to sleep. Your parents probably miss kissing you goodnight and making breakfast for you, and it really makes a difference when they realize you haven’t forgotten about those times when they were the first and last people you saw during the day.
3. Keep up with each other on social media.
Being active on social media is another great way to give the family some insights into your life in college. You might want to explain to your grandmother how Facebook works before heading off to college. In all seriousness, your family literally lives for the pictures of campus or of you thriving in clubs. When it comes to your siblings or cousins, don’t hesitate to spam them with Snapchats and funny memes throughout the day. Wait for your sister to go crazy when she sees your new classy pink outfit on Instagram.
4. Send postcards.
Handwritten notes with pictures of your new favorite city? Yes, please! Take some time out of your day to buy a few postcards and write a few lines about your life in college.
5. Install a world clock on your phone.
If you’re an international student like I am, you should definitely be aware of what time it is in your home country to have a general idea of what your family is up to, whether that is sleeping, eating, or working. Encourage them to set up a clock with your time zone as well!
6. Do things together.
Switch things up: instead of Facetiming each other, try watching a show at the same time, make them a playlist to listen to when they miss you, give them a book recommendation and start reading it together. It’s great to catch up, but sharing experiences really helps you all feel like you’re still part of each other’s lives.
7. Call them at random times.
Finally, don’t hesitate to give them a call even for a minute or two before class starts, just to say “hi” and show them the overpriced coffee warming up your hands. Surprising them with little things like this will definitely warm their heart. Besides, you don’t need to talk for hours to make an impact on each other’s day.
Try implementing these little tips in your day-to-day life to overcome distance with your family. Remember the cheesy, yet true, saying: “Family forever, never apart, maybe in distance, never in heart.”