The importance of maintaining family relationships while in college

By Madelaine McBride 

When people go to college they often see it as a chance to start their own lives. College is usually the first time young adults have lived away from home, so they are able to do whatever they want whenever they want without having to answer to anyone. To many students, this lack of rules and parental supervision allows them to discover themselves and grow into adults. 

Even though college is a time of independence, few students cut family ties entirely. Many students still talk to their parents on a regular basis after going to college and enjoy coming home for weekends and breaks. Some people may think this is a bad thing because it could hinder young adults in their journey toward full independence. Despite this possibility, maintaining a strong relationship with your family while in college can have many benefits. 

One benefit is being able to have a constant support system. Though young adults often want to try and figure out how to do things by themselves, things do not always work out. Maybe you cannot figure out how to use the dorm washing machine, or you need to fill out health forms, or you need to ask about your credit card information. For most people, the first person they would ask about these things would be a member of their family, most likely their parents. Your parents have already gone through many of these life experiences. And since they love you, they are often more than willing to offer their advice and knowledge to support you through your transition into adulthood (even if you do not take any of the advice they offer you). 

Another benefit is having people with whom to share your ups and downs. Seldom do things go as planned in college. You may find out you have a large assignment due that you forgot about, or your computer could break, or you may lose your favorite pair of socks in the 

laundry. No matter how big or small your frustrations might be, it is always nice to be able to call or text your family and be able to talk about it and gain their support. 

Being able to talk to someone about the good things is also important. What if you get a good grade on a test or project, or you find out you’ve won an award, or one of your friends brought you a brownie just because? You would probably want to tell your family in some way so that they could celebrate with you. 

Family is always there for the good times and the bad. 

A final benefit of maintaining your relationship with your family after going to college is keeping up with what goes on back home while you are gone. When you are away from home, it can often be difficult keeping up with everything. You are no longer around the same people and places all the time, so you tend to lose touch. However, by regularly talking to your family, you can find out what is going on at home. That way when you come home for weekends and breaks you will not be caught off guard when people tell you something or someone has changed. Being connected with your family allows you by extension to be connected with everything around your home. 

Independence is not about ignoring your family and forging blindly on into the unknown. True, in college you are on your own, but you do not have to be alone. Your family is still a part of your life even if they are not physically there. They want to support you, share your ups and downs, and keep you connected to home. Your family wants to stay a part of your life and see you succeed. 

So go call your parents.

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