Family (still) matters

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Family (still) matters

Kristin Boyles Op, Ed Columnist

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It seems that, oftentimes, our family members are those that we kind of push to the side. It’s unfortunate, yes, but as college students, we just have too many other things to worry about to bother making as much time for our parents, grandparents, and siblings.

Between exams, projects, part-time jobs, and everything else we may choose to be involved in – especially if you live on campus or with roommates – it’s easy to forget to say hi to your family every once in a while.

Yet, I believe that family is one of the most important aspects to leading fulfilling lives, even as we’re entering the adult world. While we need to gain our independence, we cannot be ashamed to want to spend time with our families, whether that be over dinner, a family trip, or just going to a movie together. Simply because you want to see your family instead of go to a party doesn’t mean that you’re “lame” or lack friends.

In fact, it means just the opposite. Most of the people I’m closest to are family members of mine, and it took me ages to convince myself that doesn’t mean I’m any worse off than my fellow college students who might have five or six close friends. I think this is something that more people need to recognize – the need to keep in touch with those we know and trust.

In the hustle of emerging adulthood, college students often find themselves lost in the chaos of the responsibilities being thrust upon them. Yet, many of our greatest allies are siblings, cousins, or parental figures who’ve watched us grow into better versions of ourselves over the years. Some of the best life advice comes from those who know you best, most of whom are those people you grew up with.

As most of us are guilty of saying “I’ll call my grandparents next week” and then never actually do, it’s not surprising then that they nag us to visit them more often whenever we see them at gatherings. This is not only true for grandparents, but for any group of people who you consider to be family.
Instead of ignoring the meme your sister sent you, try reciprocating with something of interest to her. It is often these small interactions that can brighten even the worst of days.

Although going to lunch with one of your parents, or heading out to see the new Marvel movie with your siblings instead of a group of friends, might seem a bit lame, there’s no use being ashamed in it. Having good familial relationships is something to appreciate because it can help all individuals involved feel happier and healthier.

Enjoy their company as much as you would if you were with any of your friends. Soon enough, you’ll be an adult who’s living their own life, and who knows how often you might see them.

Of course, one would have to be quite naïve to believe that everyone’s families are amazing, as this is unrealistic. Even so, family does not have to only mean those who are related to you by blood or marriage. One of the most important concepts of our times is that of a “found family.”

A found family might consist of any mix of the two or three friends you live with, your significant other, or perhaps parents, siblings, or cousins. Ultimately, this sort of family is just as valuable as one that is formed via genes and marriage.

Whoever your family is – whether it’s blood-relation, found, or a mix of both – it is important that you keep them in the loop. Check in every once in a while. Accept their friend requests on social media services other than Facebook.

Enjoy the time you have with others, because you never know what may happen come the future. It is important to be kind to those who have been with you through thick and thin – odds are, it’ll help both of you feel supported and appreciated. Don’t bother feeling ashamed for hanging out with your family. There’s nothing about it that screams loser, no matter how much we’re taught that it does.

Enjoy the people who mean the most to you, no matter what your relationship with them may be. People come and go as time goes on, but it is often our families who stick around the longest, and who help us become the best people we can possibly be.

Kristin is a sophomore Creative Writing major and an Op/Ed Columnist for The Voice.