Don’t take family for granted in new chapter of adulthood

by Lindsey Anderson , Contributor

Leaving home for the first time means leaving everything about childhood behind.

In jumping into this new chapter, we bid a sweet farewell to all that’s familiar to us: our hometown, our long-time friends and our families.

For many, this is the most appealing part of college. By the time we turn 18, we could not be more ready to go — chomping at the bit to pursue a life of independence in a city we can learn to call our own.

Our newfound independence comes with the freedom to explore new relationships, seeking out new friends who match our current chapter (chosen as our people for reasons not tied to kindergarten).

The clean slate that accompanies us into college allows us to pursue connections with people who resonate with us or who align with our lifestyle, thus building an army of individuals who fulfill many different pieces of our being.

It is these people that are with us every single day — growing with us and supporting us — as we take on the college woes. With mere exposure and transformative shared experiences, these friends become our family almost overnight.

Suddenly, going home is not important — all our friends are here. This new place has become our home, these people are now our family and this independence is now our life. 

We are so grown up and experienced that all of sudden our families are not a priority.

We’ve decided that we don’t need our parents anymore; we can successfully live on our own. We don’t need familial support; we have our friends. We don’t need the presence of older people in our lives; we’re young and we’re cool.  

Right? Wrong.

As we progress through our time in college, disregarding family is a huge mistake.

Sure, we’ve developed a strong new sense of identity and built a village of people here with us, but that doesn’t mean we no longer have room for the home team who raised us. 

The appeal of establishing family in friends is understandable. 

These friends won’t punish us for coming home late or for drinking on a weekday. They won’t hinder our newfound freedom or question our motives; they’ll simply join us for the ride. 

We can tell these friends anything without judgement or unwanted advice and, not to mention, they tend to be more fun to be around as their interests align with ours. 

If anything, establishing these strong familial bonds with close college friends should be encouraged because we need this sense of support when we become physically distant from family. 

But that doesn’t mean these friendships are a replacement for our familial relationships. 

Honestly, we should be striving to grow our families, not shrink them.

As simple an idea this may be, so many students develop complete disregard for their families when they move away from home.

We turn 18 and suddenly, we’re too cool for mom and dad.

But believe it or not, our parents did not send us off to school only for us to move on from them. They did not raise us to outgrow them, nor did they raise us to become “too cool” for their time. 

Not to mention, our parents become cooler the older we get. 

So, for the students who haven’t reached out to their families: you may feel like a big college hot-shot now, but before you know it you’ll be begging to go back home.

What you’ll come to realize is that you miss being a kid again and, sometimes, a break from adulthood is just the refresh you needed. 

So, please don’t cut those ties. Embrace the love your parents provide and allow yourself to be their child again, if only for a weekend. 

At the very least, take a step off your high horse and please, just call your mom.

Lindsey Anderson is a senior studying rhetoric and writing.