Relationships 101 - Maintaining Relationships while away at college

This post isn't about boyfriend/girlfriend drama, it's about maintaining relationships with family and friends while you're at IU.

Because, let's face it, some of us chose IU because it's just the right distance from home -- and it has a social college culture.

I'm a person who tends to be happy with being in my own little world, doing my own thing at my own pace. But last year (my first year at IU) I made sure I made plans with friends weekly, whether it be a study session or dinner and a movie.

I think it's important to stay social because it's easy to get holed up in your own world and own problems. Your friends are your friends because you probably like being around them -- they relieve stress.

Make sure you make time for them and they make time for you!

I have the advantage (but some would call this a catastrophic miscalculation) of having some of my closest high school friends at IU, so when I go home I usually stay at home and visit with family. But there are some friends I visit on a regular basis from home, or we stay in contact using Facebook or Twitter.

Keeping in contact with friends at home is almost as important and keeping in touch with your family.

*Embarrassing confession time* -- Last year I texted both my parents and called them nearly every day, and the text conversations grew to all-day marathons. It's not that I had to in order to feel comfortable being away from home, it was just out of habit; at the beginning I wanted to tell them EVERYTHING about IU and Bloomington, so by the time Christmas break rolled around, it was habitual and tough to stop.

And I'll admit, the conversations were hard to maintain all day, every day.

Me: "Omg, this guy beside me has a ridiculous hat on."

Dad: ":)"

But then I realized, "They're busy, they have jobs. They allowed me to go away for a reason, must I fill them in on every detail of my daily life?"

The answer is no.

In fact, I think they got annoyed with me. So the lesson to learn here is this: Maintain a balance. Your parents probably don't care about the smelly guy sitting beside you in class or the annoying prof you see three times a week. My parents enjoy being empty-nesters and they want me to do my own thing.

But they do care about the nights you go out with friends and will probably not hear your phone ring. So be honest and up front about what you do in the evenings.

Just a quick text, like, "Going out with friends. Won't be in until late. WIll call tomorrow." (Granted, I'm 21+ so my parents didn't care I was "out with friends.")

Along this line of thought, I tended to make the three-hour drive home about once a month. You might think that's a bit much, and I would probably agree. But, as I said before, I tend to be a home-body and that small dorm room surrounded by loud neighbors wasn't cutting it. Plus I missed my bed, homecooked meals and my cat.

Well this year (my senior year, whoohoo!) I will have my bed in my apartment, one of my roommates is an awesome cook and (unfortunately and decidedly off topic) my cat had to be put down last month.

Looks like I'll be spending more time in Bloomington this school year.

Except for the fact I now have an ever-growing niece and little cousins I love to hang out with.

It's all about striking a balance and figuring out what works best for you. And it appears I'm still trying to find my own balance.

About The Author
Jessica WilliamsClass of 2013

Hey guys! My name is Jessica and I'm a senior in the IU School of Journalism. I'm also earning minors in history and political science. After graduation -- May 2013! -- I hope to enter the newspaper industry.

I use "Musings of a Hoosier" to share my experiences as an IU student, which are different than other bloggers' experiences because not only was I born and raised in Indiana, but I'm also a transfer student. I hope I can teach you something about IU that you didn't know before.

Go Hoosiers!