Family at home and at school

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By Sasha Zuflacht

Our generation has unbelievable access to technology. Most of us have our own laptops, a Blackberry or iPhone, and sometimes even an iPad. We seem to be attached to these devices all the time as if they are part of our body. We are constantly checking Facebook for status updates, or BBMing and texting friends.

This should enable us to stay in touch with friends and family from home without any problems. But why then is it so difficult? I find conversations with friends from home to be short and insincere at times. This is not the way to stay in touch with the people you have cared about for years.

Our parents did not and could not imagine the advances in technology we are exposed to today back when they were our age and in school. It’s actually crazy. Can you imagine handwriting and mailing a letter back home to update your parents about school and events of your everyday life? Or what would life be like not having immediate access to your own cell phone? We have so much opportunity to readily communicate and we do not even realize it.

[pullquote]“Whether we like to admit it or not, growing apart seems inevitable.”[/pullquote]

Because this technology is so easily accessible, I feel as though we abuse it. Most of my conversations with my best friends are through Facebook chat and texting. How genuine is that? While a majority of you may be better than I am at keeping in touch, I am sure you would say it is still a struggle.

There is little privacy, especially in the winter, to tell your friend from home exactly what is going on (that is, if you actually find a convenient time for you both to talk). If you don’t, there seems to be the typical “Hey, how are you?” text and the occasional long text explaining every detail of the past weekend. But this is not enough, and that is not a friendship.

I do occasionally find time to video chat or Skype with my best friends from home and that always turns into a production, more often than not lasting several hours. None of us have this amount of free time on a regular basis.

I find it so strange at times to live these two different and separate lives; on one hand, you are trying to maintain your friendships with people from home while simultaneously strengthening new friendships and bonds at school. It’s like we are living a double life. We have two different sets of friends and it is our responsibility to make sure we are in touch with everyone.

As we continue to grow closer with our new friends we try not to lose our support system from the past. At the same time, we are all changing and finding ourselves. Whether we like to admit it or not, growing apart seems inevitable in some cases. This juggling act is overwhelming at times but, it is up to you to make the effort to stay close with your friends, regardless of whether they are down the hall or across the country. You cannot lose sight of why you were friends with these people in the first place.

Whether you are currently a new freshman or a senior getting ready to leave, this issue is relevant. We are all moving on with our lives and building our own futures; our friends from home are doing the same.

Unfortunately, some of our friendships seem to be at a standstill. However, the exciting thing about true friends is how easily it is to reconnect with them after a period of time. Yes, it is frustrating not to be as close as you may have been in the past, but the second you get together over break, things fall back into place almost seamlessly.

So let’s start making an effort to use technology in a productive manner. If you are lucky enough to maintain your friendships with people from home and create true friends at college, then you should consider yourself lucky. At college your friends are your family and that is what’s truly important at the end of the day.

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