4 Ways to Keep in Touch with Out-of-State Family

Going out-of-state for college is simultaneously one of the most liberating and terrifying things you could possibly do. Although you have virtually unlimited freedom, there are parts of you that miss being able to lie down on the sofa in your living room for a rainy afternoon instead of some stained futon in your roommate's bedroom. There are also parts of you that low-key (or high-key) miss your parents or siblings. And even though you may be hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away, there are still ways to make it feel as though you've never left.

1. Send a handwritten letter

Handwriting a letter is one of the most efficient ways to let somebody know that you care. In this digital age, the personal nature of these letters means that they're far more likely to be kept by the recipient so they can remind themselves of just how much time you spend thinking about them. If you send one to your family, you're showing that you haven't left them behind in your pursuit of higher education but instead, you're actually taking time out of your day to remember your roots and where you came from.

2. FaceTime

Or Skype or Facebook video calling. Even Snapchat if you can help them set it up! Anything you can do to get your face on a screen. Parents love being able to see your face, even if it's just while you're walking to class. It also gives you the opportunity to see the pets that you were forced to leave behind, so really, it's a win-win situation.

3. Have scheduled phone calls

Not unlike Skyping or FaceTiming, this does give your family the opportunity to hear your voice. It also gives you the opportunity to add some structure to your busy schedule. You don't even have to talk about anything "important." When you miss home, sometimes just listening to your parents complain about the neighbors or talking with your siblings about the newest Google Doodle can make all the difference.

4. Plan a surprise visit

When all else fails, sometimes planning a surprise visit is the best way to alleviate some of that homesickness. Although phone calls and letters will be able to keep you sane for a while, nothing beats that feeling of running into the arms of your loved ones after spending time apart. Even if you only get to spend a weekend together, just know that it can seriously boost your morale and give you that extra energy you need to make it through the rest of the semester.

Going to school out-of-state is an amazing experience - you get to see parts of the country you would've never seen before and you get to meet people from all walks of life. But sometimes, just sometimes, you need a reminder of where you've been to keep your eyes focused on where you're going. And you need to make sure your pets know that you haven't just abandoned them. That's priority number one.