Navigating family dynamics in college

Julia Fabrizio, Assistant Features Editor

For those who dorm on campus, the shift in family dynamics can be dramatic once you are no longer living at home. Many students don’t realize until they are completely moved out that their family relationships may change a lot.

It can be tricky to balance family life with your school life, especially when you don’t see your family every day. For some, it makes them closer with their family, but for others it proves difficult to keep up the communication.

“I think I did get closer with my family [after going to college],” junior Ally Parrett said. “I talk to my mom on the phone almost every day now. I feel like since I don’t see her every day, I want to call her and tell her everything that happens. Things do feel a little weirder when I go home, and you can tell that my younger siblings have taken over my house, but I still feel at home.”

Many students find it is most helpful to organize a time, maybe once a week, to call their family. This way they don’t fall out of touch.

“Living away from home was hard at first, because me and my family have a close relationship,” junior Mikayla Cullen said. “However, I feel that this has only made us closer. I communicate with my family through phone calls and FaceTime. All in all, I think that dorming was a wonderful experience for me and definitely pushed me to become my own person.”

Some students rely on social media as a way to keep in touch as well.

“I keep up communication mostly by calling my parents every week and texting them, too,” senior Jill Baldassarre said. “I also have a younger brother who is a senior in high school, so I send him a lot of tweets.”

Seeing the shift in family dynamics can be especially weird when you go home for breaks and see that things have changed. Sometimes a simple change in your family home can really emphasize the fact that you no longer live there. Regardless, students are usually welcomed back with open arms by their families who are excited to see them again.

“Family dynamics are always good when I’m home for break,” Baldassarre said. “We go out to eat a lot and we like to go into Manhattan as a family. Me and my mom always pick up a new show together or watch movies. I usually have nothing going on over break so it’s nice to relax with them. Occasionally I get annoyed because I’m so used to living alone at school, but I’m always happy to be home. I rarely go home during the school year, so breaks with my family are the best.”

It’s important to enjoy your independence and make the best of your college experience, but so is finding time to catch up with family, so try not to take your family time over breaks for granted.