Appreciate, make time for your family

Melinda Kauffman

College is a unique time in life when we experience complete freedom for the first time. No longer are we under the supervision of our parents and high school teachers. No longer are we accountable to the rules and regulations put into place by our parents. We have the ability to do whatever we wish. But there is a catch.

Living without parents is great, I admit. But before you throw a party and jump for joy, take a minute to think about how and specifically who got you to where you are today. Obviously you are a student at W&L and you worked hard to get into one of the nation’s top liberal arts universities, but it wasn’t all by your own efforts. Who pays for you to stay at this institution? Who paid for your college application fee and helped you write the essay for it the night before it was due? Who packed your lunch for you when you were five and bundled you up so that only your forehead was exposed before sending you out into the winter cold? Like it or not, your parents, or whoever looked after you during your childhood, are the ones who got you to where you are today. Without them, you may not have had the opportunities that you did.

In college, it is easy to put your needs first, as you should, but not at the expense of your friends and family members who have contributed to your success. Whether you feel as though your family contributed little to nothing to your success, all families have some level of support. Take the time to talk to your family members and tell them how much you appreciate them. You never know what life will throw your way next, so don’t take advantage of the freedom you have in college and completely neglect your family.

Regardless of what you think, your family loves you and they want to hear from you. Call your mom once a week or FaceTime your little brother every Wednesday evening. You have no clue how much even a 20-minute conversation means to the people who love you. Don’t worry; I’m sure the Chemistry homework you are pretending to do in those 20 minutes is less important than the 20-minute phone conversation you could be having with a loved one.

Life is short and college goes by fast. Don’t wait until you are out in the real world and halfway across the country to find yourself regretting the time you didn’t spend talking to your family. Maybe you don’t have a family. Find a new family. College is the best time to be in conversation with those around you, because you are literally living amongst your peers. There will never be another time in your life when you will live so close to your peers. Take advantage of this time and find people you love to be with. Cultivate these relationships and know they are your new support group.

Find your family, wherever it may be, and continue to spend time with them. They love you and care about what is going on in your life. And, after all they have done for you, giving them your time is a small but important way to show your appreciation.