Staying in touch with your family and friends while you are away at college may seem like a daunting task. You will be busy adjusting to your new surroundings, cramming for tests, making new friends, and (hopefully!) getting involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities. But these two worlds – college and home – do not have to be mutually exclusive! It is very possible to have a fulfilling time at school and still sustain strong, meaningful relationships with your loved ones back at home. All it takes to achieve this balance is some commitment and good time-management skills.

The first step toward fostering healthy relationships is determining your priorities. With the jam-packed schedules and overstuffed plates that most college students juggle, you probably won’t have time to keep in touch with everyone back home on a regular basis. One relationship you almost definitely want to devote some time to is that with your parents – if only because they gave you life and are likely helping you finance this whole college thing! Other than that though, you are going to have to take some time to really think about which relationships are most important to you.

This is the time when you will start to discover who your true friends are. Since you won’t be seeing them every day anymore, it will take a bit more effort and commitment to stay in touch and keep your friendship going. As such, you can be sure that those friendships that do manage to survive the test are the real deal.

Create a Newsletter.

If you have trouble narrowing down your list of who to keep in touch with, one thing you can do is create a newsletter of sorts. Whether weekly, biweekly or monthly, set aside some time to write up an email about all of your latest adventures at college and send it off to anyone who you think might be interested. This way you can keep everyone up-to-date on what’s going on in your life in one fell swoop.

Stick with Social Media.

Facebook is another convenient way to keep in touch with a large number of people, whether through status updates or group messages. But be wary, as social media outlets can be addictive and have the propensity to trick you into wasting valuable time that could be better spent on forming new friendships or keeping in touch with the people you really care about.

Don’t Forget the Telephone!

Of course there is also the old standby – the phone. If your parents are anything like mine, I’m sure they would love to hear your voice at least once a week to be sure you’re alive (and eating well). If you’re worried about plowing through your minutes and racking up a hefty phone bill though, there are free and cheap online alternatives, such as Skype, that allow you to not only speak with friends and family (even if they are halfway around the world), but also see their smiling faces!

In this day and age, with all of the technological advances that have reshaped the realm of interpersonal communication, it is easier than ever to keep in touch with loved ones while you are away at college. So there’s no excuse for not keeping Mom in the loop! It is more than possible to maintain important relationships with people back home and still enjoy your college experience to the fullest. With some simple time-management skills, commitment and the ability to resist the temptation to spend your time Facebook-stalking all 4,298 of your “friends,” you too can strike a balance between home and college and bring these two worlds – that of silver and that of gold – into harmony.

Ronen writes for the University Language Services’ blog for college students and applicants. University Language’s free online guides and the blog, Campus Commons, give students in-depth information to help them make the most of their college experience, from application to graduation (including studying abroad). University Language’s comprehensive services for students also include professional resume writing for internships and jobs.

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