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I’d Suggest Staying In Touch with the Folks

I arrived on campus donning a new maroon rain jacket and very used flipflops. The chattering coming from the trees and grass had seemed so loud then. The closest thing my ears could compare the rain and wind and chirps and buzzes to was the soundtrack used at Rainforest Cafe. Gorillas were going to start up again in about 10 minutes, and afterward, it would be the elephants' turn to entertain the diners…

Somehow, the 18 years I spent growing up in Arizona had brought me to this Gambier, Ohio, on a noisy, rainy evening that I saw as my launch pad for four years of endless possibilities: New people. Going on walks alone—at night, too. Having my own desk in my bedroom—even the little things were appealing and exciting. I'd be spending the next four years in this "forest" making friends, learning about things I'd never previously considered, and living a truly (semi-)independent life.

Not surprisingly, at this point in my life, one of the last things I wanted to do was get sucked back into feeling any lack of freedom; for freshman me, regularly talking to my parents fell into that category of unwanted restraints. While I missed my parents and wanted to keep in touch, it was surprisingly easy to justify avoiding regular communication with them. I had work. The time difference posed problems. It was easier to ignore being homesick if I didn't have to hear their voices. And, rather importantly, it was liberating to discover what it felt like to just be me.

I could sit outside in front of Rosse Hall on an Adirondack chair doing work from early evening into the early morning. I could leave my jacket in my room if I wanted to feel the wind on the skin of my arms for a change—if  I wanted to feel the chill. I could have days where I did my own things at my own pace—where I felt loved by and thankful to myself for just doing what I wanted to do.

And, yet, despite several great experiences and an overall successful freshman year, I've concluded I took things too far. I only remember calling my parents a handful of times during my freshman year. And a good portion of those calls were in April when I was freaking out about how to file my taxes. There were several times I found myself unhappy and feeling alone, and I simply tried to deal with everything by myself. I tried not to let on that I was struggling. I'm independent. I should be able to get through this. I need to be an adult.

But we aren't really adults. Not quite yet. We're in this sort of in-between place where we're still learning how we fit into the world, and we're crafting who we want to be. Many of us are in a new state. Some of us are in a new country that speaks a language different from that of our homeland. We're still young, and we're doing a lot of new, scary things. We deserve support and love even if we want to be independent.

So, I'm trying something else new: since the school year started, I've texted my parents every day, and I try to call them at least a few times each week. We chat about my classes or about the errands they have to run or about how my brother's year is going so far. They still call me by my nickname—they remind me I'm still their baby girl. We share laughs. Or sometimes it’s just an exchange of “Good morning!” texts. It's nice. Even if you're a freshman who wants to "find yourself," you can still make time to stay in touch with your loved ones. And I suggest that you do. You'll have people to talk about your day with, have updates on what's happening back home, and you'll have a support system for when you need it. Really; they're only a call away. (Plus, on the flip-side, you can also hang up.)

 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2

 

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Sarah is a sophomore at Kenyon College. In addition to writing for Her Campus Kenyon, she is a Psychology-Drama double major who likes to spend her time acting, drawing, and exploring the small town of Gambier, Ohio.
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