When you’re off to uni for the first time, there’s a lot of new stuff for you to take in. Plus, not everyone’s a social butterfly, which means that for some it doesn’t always come naturally to be in constant contact with friends and family whilst at uni. We know you’ll be busy being you and navigating your new life for the first few months. But just so you don’t let your old life slip (and your parents worry), we’re giving you some tips on staying in touch with your family, home friends and uni friends when you become as student.
How often should you keep in touch with friends and family at uni?
This one’s a tough one because it’s down to you. Some things you may want to think about are:
• Putting your parents’ minds at ease
If you’re heading off to a new city to live a new life, they’ll probably be worried. Keeping in touch will not only help them relax, but keep them off your back! You could agree times to check-in whilst you’re finding your feet – say, a few texts per day and two to three calls per week as a minimum? That way, everyone knows where they stand.
• Are your home friends at uni too?
If they are, they probably have a lot going on just like you. Arranging a weekly Facetime can be a nice way to keep in touch and spill the tea on what you’ve been up to. But if they’re not at uni and still living at home, you may want to think about dropping them a few texts here or there to check in. Whilst they’ll be happy you’re enjoying your new life, you’ll probably want to make sure they don’t feel left behind or forgotten about.
• Are your uni friends making an effort to spend time with you?
You can make loads of different friends at uni. From course mates, to societies, to people you end up meeting on random nights out that become friends for life. It can be hard to prioritise who to make an effort to spend time with – if anyone! Over time you’ll get a sense of who your true friends are, who you can truly be yourself around and you can learn to make time for the ones that make time for you.
How to keep in touch with family and friends at uni
Thanks to technology, there are endless ways you can stay connected with your family, home and uni friends wherever they are in the world. Here are some ideas:
Staying in touch with family at uni
• Arrange set times to catch up on FaceTime
Having a schedule can help your parents relax and feel like you’ve not forgotten about them!
• Meet half way for a coffee/dinner date
If you live far from your family, find a half way point where you can catch up without one of you having to make the full journey.
• Do an online games night
The power of technology means you can feel like you’re in the same room as your family even if you’re hundreds of miles away!
• Set up a family group chat
Student life got you busy? Don’t have time to update multiple family members on your activities? Create a group chat and send your updates to everyone.
• Pre-warn family if you’re not going to be around
If you’re heading to the cinema, or going on a night out, it can be a good idea to let your parents know so they don’t worry. This will normally only be for the first few months whilst they’re getting used to you living your new life.
• Plan trips home every few weeks/months
Setting a date for heading home to visit your family can give everyone something to look forward to. And you’ll probably be glad of clean bed sheets and a home cooked meal!
How to keep in touch with long distance friends
• Use technology as much as possible
Play games, video call, text – the opportunities are endless! Technology means it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Plus, social media can be a great way to keep in touch with your friends.
• Set a weekly reminder to check-in with school friends and catch up
It’s not uncommon for things to become a little distant with your school friends when you all head to uni. And it’s always such a shame. To stop this happening, make a real effort to put catch ups in your diary.
• Invite them to stay
One of the best uni nights out is usually when your home friends visit and you take them out with your uni friends. You can show them the ropes in your new town/city and get them to return the favour!
Staying connected with uni friends
Sometimes it can be a bit of an effort to stay in touch with the friends you’ve made at uni. Especially if you don’t live together, have a busy course, or are just bad at keeping in touch with friends. Here are some things you can do to help.
• Arrange a weekly dinner
If you’re a bit of a lone-wolf, having your entire weekly schedule jam-packed full of social activities might seem a bit exhausting. Arrange a weekly meal with all of your housemates so that you can do all of your socialising in one fell swoop, taking the pressure off for the rest of the week. It’s also a nice way to bond with your housemates and learn to be yourself around them.
• Leave post-it notes around the house
If you know you’re not going to be around much for a few days, make your presence in the house felt by leaving post-it notes in various hiding places for your housemates to find. Funny drawings hidden in the fridge are always a great way to improve your friends’ day.
• Use the group chat
Group chats are great for staying in touch with multiple people at once – instead of sending five separate messages, you can just send one to the group chat and save yourself a bit of time. And it’s a great way of planning activities for when you are feeling sociable.
• Take some time for yourself
Whilst it’s important to socialise at uni, if you need some alone time it’s important to make time to wind down and just be you. The benefit of apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp is that you can mute conversations, dipping in and out of the conversation when you want to. You can also specify the amount of time that the conversation is muted for so that you actually remember to reply!
Confirm your student cover
If you don’t live in halls, inuring your gadgets can mean that if anything does happen to them, you won’t have to rely on the bank of Mum and Dad to replace them!