Family bonds grow stronger during college

Caroline Schaeffer

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. As cliché as that saying might be now, it’s true. For the most part, your relationship with your family becomes stronger once you leave for college, even if only because now a more conscious effort is involved in maintaining the relationship you already had.

College is typically the first time in your life that you don’t live with your family. Mom and dad are out of your hair and siblings aren’t around to steal your clothes or hog the TV anymore. This is all great news; it dramatically cuts down on the things you have to fight about with them on your weekly telephone calls back home. The distance does actually help your relationship with your family get stronger because you’re not constantly around each other and the petty things or minor annoyances that used to cause colossal arguments are no longer present.

Also, the simple fact that so much more effort has to be put into the relationship actually strengthens it. When your only way of talking to someone is over the phone or via Skype, it makes those interactions more important for everyone. To be honest, I share more details about my day-to-day life with my mom now than I ever did when I was still living at home. This includes even the most mundane stories, like what my schedule is looking like for the week. Likewise, I ask my family for smaller details about their lives when I’m talking to them–it makes me feel like I’m less far away than I actually am. When you live in the same house as someone, it’s obvious that you’re not going to sit down together for hours and hash out every detail of what went on during your day, but when you’re miles away from them, you’d be surprised how important those minor details become.

Of course, the downside to this strengthened relationship is the amount of effort you have to put in to it. It’s easy to forget to call someone Monday, then Tuesday and then eventually just put it off until next week. The problem with this is the relationship with your family can only be as strong as you make it. If you put in tons of effort to call, Skype or even text your mom, brother, dad, sister, etc., then you’ll get that stronger relationship easily. But if you get caught up in your own life and forget about those calls and conversations, it’s very possible that your relationship with your family will stay the same, or worse, weaken over time.

No matter how annoying and tiresome your family can be when you live with them, it’s safe to use another cliché and say that you couldn’t live without them. Leaving for college may mean leaving the home you grew up in and the family you grew up with, but it doesn’t have to mean you leave that stuff behind; it just means that you have to try a little harder to keep it with you.

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