We hear almost every day that college is a time for transition into adulthood, major life changes, new experiences, etc. Cliché? Yes. Accurate? Also yes. Yet, a major issue that many of us struggle with is balancing our new independent lives with the familiar ones we came to know so well throughout grade school. As we move into new stages of our lives, keeping contact with family, friends, and even pets at home can provide an essential sense of comfort amid the chaos of our early years of college. Upon entering college, change can be daunting, to say the least, and going home for a weekend can provide a necessary retreat from all the transitions of college. However, we have to be careful about how we balance life at home with opportunities for new experiences at UT.
Whether it’s academic stress or social challenges from the new and often overwhelming environment that college presents, students are pushed beyond their comfort zones and provided opportunities for growth and development. As midterms, papers, and projects seem to sweep freshmen into every corner of the PCL, calling home in a panic seems to almost be a rite of passage for students, one that many of us will have to endure on multiple occasions.
But at what point does calling home become a crutch?
Of course our loved ones want to learn about our experiences in college; they are the ones who coached us to this stage and feel an obligation to check on the baby birds flying outside the nest. But they also care about our development as adults, especially when it comes to handling crises on our own.
On the other hand, many students entering college become quickly absorbed in the new and exciting opportunities available, especially with the seemingly limitless possibilities at UT. This can cause us to lose touch with loved ones when we make few to no trips home in a semester and call home only on rare occasions. This extreme of this spectrum can also be dangerous, causing us to fall out of sync with those who helped us get this far in life. If those of us in this boat don’t make a conscious effort to paddle back home every now and then, we could distance ourselves from those who care about us the most. In the end, every college student must find his or her own healthy balance of when to call and go home. For each of us, the frequency will be different, but we all should strive to continue fostering our relationships with those back home in the midst of the trials of college.