Family? In college?


Brendan Ulanch

When wide-eyed high schoolers set off for college, family is always in some part of their minds. When is my family coming up? Am I too far from home? Should I call and ask for food? I really miss my mom. Should I call home? In some way or another, every college kid is thinking about their family and loved ones.

Now, when I say family, I don’t necessarily mean grandma and grandpa, brother and sister, or even mom and dad. Family is anyone you are close to; anyone that you can call in a time of need. This person can be your loving mother, close cousin, lifelong best friend or even your new GVSU roommate. Some people, when the question of family is brought up, cringe at the thought. The past may not have been the best in regards to this area, and that stuff happens. That is why finding your family in college, when given the right opportunity, is super important.

Finding that group of people, or maybe just that one person, that you can always talk to and who are always close by on campus is crucial to having a successful college career. Connecting with people that you’ve never met before is hard, believe me, but finding things in common is the trick. Clubs and intramural sports are perfect for this. You all have that same desire to do whatever the club or intramural sport is about so right there you already have a head start. Places like work, the trusty 50 bus, walking by the clock tower or even the long line at Subway can introduce you to lifelong companions and possibly even a future “family” member. At the very least, you have counselors at GVSU that are ready to help you with anything.

Other than the fact that maintaining relationships with loved ones is seen as morally right, improved cognitive abilities come with staying in good relationships with people. As you age, your mind slowly loses brain function and overall cognitive ability. A study conducted at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that maintaining social networks is linked to slower cognitive decline.

Personally, nothing makes my mom happier than hearing that ring on her phone and seeing that it’s from me. Now, I am sure that every single college student has someone that is waiting for them at this very second for a call. I know that college students have super crazy lives, and a phone call honestly might not be possible. So, if that’s the case then send them a small text. The bottom line is that people all around you are ready and able to support you and you just have to be reminded sometimes that they’re still there.

Don’t let college be the reason that you don’t see your family, or the people that care about you. College is amazing, but family, no matter what way you define it, always should come first. Let me answer one of the questions I posed at the beginning. Should I call home? Yes, yes you should!