Keep in Touch
Here are 10 ways to keep your friendships and family relationships alive while you're at college:
1. Get the news. Read your local and high-school newspaper. If it's impractical to have the papers sent weekly or daily, see if you can subscribe to their email newsletter. Or check their website regularly.
2. Give the news. Your family and friends want to know what's happening in your new world. So send them articles from your school paper once in a while. (Be sure to send articles that mention you or something you're involved in.) You might also want to send them an events calendar. After all, they might like to plan a visit around a sporting event, concert, play or other campus happening. Also, make sure they are connected to your college's site and social media; it's a great way for them to keep in touch with what's happening on campus.
3. Surprise the folks. If you're not too far away, plan a surprise visit home for a family member's birthday or other special occasion. But be sure someone knows you're coming. If not, you might get there when everyone's on their way to visit you!
4. Meet online. Keep up with family on social media, and maybe even keep them in the loop by writing a blog. And schedule regular video chat sessions.
5. Picture your world. Ask a friend to take pictures of you at various "landmarks" on campus. Have fun with crazy poses. E-mail or text the pictures to your family with captions for each.!
6. Remember the little things. Send homemade cards on important occasions. Send a friend a buck and ask him/her to buy your little sib's favorite candy bar and deliver it. Purchase gift certificates to your mom and dad's favorite restaurant and mail them with a quick note saying, "Hey, you fed me all these years. Have one on me!"
7. Create stationery that says "you." Make your own goofy, personalized stationery for your letters home. For instance: Photocopy your face (be sure you close your eyes!) and use the paper to write a letter.
8. Take advantage of family and sibling weekends. If your family's unable to visit during these special on-campus events, see if your youth pastor and a group of friends can come and be your "family."
9. Text often. Your parents and siblings will be thrilled when you drop them a line via text message. Use your smartphone to send photo updates, which allow them to visualize your day-to-day life.
10. Give your friends a video tour. Use your cell phone or check out a video camera from the library. Point out places of interest. Do brief, candid interviews with students and profs. Keep the video light by adding funny comments throughout.