The call home is a well-known part of the college experience. Whether to make sure you aren’t maxing out a credit card or just to check that you’re alive, your parents will want to talk to you, probably on a semi-regular basis. But you’re a busy college student; how do they expect you to find time for that?
Speakerphone, my friends, was invented for a reason. With hands, neck, and/or shoulder free from the stress of connecting phone to ear, you can get a lot done while you’re reassuring your parents that you’re getting enough sleep (of course, not specifying that “enough” means something different to you than it does to them).
What better time to squeeze in a phone call than when you’re folding T-shirts and trying to figure out which dryer setting won’t ruin your clothes?
2. Food Prep
If you don’t want to have meal plan food every day and you’d rather cook for yourself, put something together while you’re updating your parents on your life. Having some food prepped and saved for later is always a good thing, and saves time when you do get hungry.
Chances are you have a cereal bowl or coffee cup lying around that you haven’t washed in . . . a while. Head to the bathroom, or the kitchen if your dorm has one, and clean your dishes while you talk. Then you’ll have a spoon when you really need one.
4. Clothes for the Next Day
Mornings go a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear. Get an outfit ready while you catch up on hometown gossip.
5. Light Cleaning
Because your room is dirty. Maybe you can’t be bothered to tidy up when there are two midterms and a project coming up, but it’s not hard to put away a stray sweatshirt or dish when you’re on the phone. Maybe don’t vacuum though.
If your spare index cards are at the bottom of a heap of pens, sticky notes, paper clips, pencils, erasers, rubber bands, class handouts, highlighters, and who knows what else, it’s worth it to take a few minutes to organize your drawers. Which is a perfect activity to couple with keeping up-to-date on with what your parents and siblings are doing. Set the phone on speaker, put it on the desk, and get sorting.
While you’re begging your parents to hold the phone up to your pet’s ear so you can say hi, take out the trash if you have a trashcan in your room. And do it regularly so your room doesn’t start to smell.
If you know you’re going to be pretty busy and won’t have time for a long conversation any time soon, give your parents a quick call while you’re walking between classes or back to your dorm. That way they still get to hear from you, and you still have time to work on whatever needs doing.
9. DIY and Crafts
This isn’t for everyone, but I really like crafts and making things. Of course, there isn’t a lot of time for that, what with homework and all. But, if my hands are free during my call home, I can catch up with my family and sneak in a little bit of artsy fun at the same time.
10. Managing your Technology
There’s probably some app on your phone that needs to be updated or some files on your computer that need to be deleted. Get your devices uncluttered and up-to-date while you talk so you won’t have to do it later, when you inevitably have an essay to write or a problem set to finish.
Overall, multitask. When an activity can easily be combined with your regular call to stave off homesickness, take advantage of it. That way, you’ll have more time for fun when you emerge from your mountain of assignments.