Whether it is a young sibling, a cousin, or a nephew going to college, you instantly know that it will be a game-changer for your relationship. College marks the beginning of adulthood and independence. Many relationship experts claim that relationships forged during the student years can last a lifetime. Indeed, college students are at the beginning of their adult journey. For the first time, they live away from home and can develop a sense of independence. With the new freedom comes the quest for their identity, figuring out what kind of adult they will be. The college years are formative because they conclude with a degree and because students learn to handle new responsibilities, build their professional profile, and invest in their future. Therefore, you know that the little kid who leaves high school will come out of college transformed. If you know someone going to attend college, you can seize the unique opportunity to strengthen your bonds and improve your relationship.
Bonding with a college student, however, is not easy. Unlike high school students who still live at home, college attendants often need to move to the city or another state for their studies. Unless you happen to live locally to their college, the relationship will need to sustain the distance. Yet, it can be just as meaningful and powerful, even if you can’t see each other regularly. Here are some tips to reach out across the distance and create a long-lasting friendship.
Restart your studies too
If you are at a point in your career when you are considering boosting your resume, going back to school at the same time as your new student friend can help to bond. Online studies are not a novelty for professionals. It is a practical opportunity to pursue your studies without quitting your day-to-day job. However, online portals can feel lonely. You can exchange relatable studying tips and stories with your relatives. Even though they may pursue different studies at a college, you can share your experience. It is a fun way of motivating each other to succeed as you both get to talk about what you’re learning and how you’re preparing. The act of studying and preparing for exams is universal, regardless of what and where you study.
Stay informed about their college news
Students often feel detached from their families because nobody follows their college news and events. College events are a big deal for students. Therefore, students appreciate it when their relatives keep up to date with their college GameDay Predictions for 2021 or new business partnerships. First of all, it shows you are taking an interest. But it also allows students to talk more openly about their experiences, as they know there’s someone who can understand them. Most colleges update their news directly on the website and their social media platforms. You can also sign up for the newsletter if you prefer to receive all updates in your mailbox.
Plan to visit
Granted, college students can live far away. But, you can make use of a few days off to organize a visit. They will be grateful for the company. Visiting relatives are always a welcome sight. Students are happy to show their relatives into town and around the campus. You can learn about their favorite places away from home, meet their new friends, and discover what their everyday life is like. As it’s the first time that most students live without their parents, visiting is the best way to show them that you acknowledge their independence and want to be part of their adult life. More often than not, students are happy to introduce you to their new world. Besides, it’s the perfect excuse to try out new restaurants in town that would otherwise be too expensive on a student’s budget!
Follow them on social media
Long-distance friendships can exist online too. You can start an email exchange, sharing your latest news with each other across the distance. As most students use social media platforms, it’s a good idea to sign in to their preferred platform. Snapchat remains a favorite among teenagers and young adults. TikTok and Instagram are still popular, depending on age and region. Or you can also find them on more “traditional” social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Using social media enables you to hear about their latest news and follow day-to-day moods and events. Do make sure to keep your communication light-hearted and positive, though. Many parents and older relatives can be judgemental on social media; this would be the worst thing you can do for your relationship.
Send a thoughtful present
Starting a new life away from home can be exciting, but it’s not easy every day. But college students also need to keep a shoestring budget. So, while they love their new freedom away from mom and dad, they don’t always have the means to enjoy it to the fullest. But you can make them feel welcome in their dorm with a thoughtful gift. Tech devices are a favorite as students need to rely on technology every day. Most students already use a laptop. Yet, quality headphones or earphones or a portable BlueTooth speaker could significantly enhance their bedroom decor. You can also opt for something practical, such as a sturdy backpack or an elegant water bottle to carry around.
Let them stay at your home
Whether they are on a break or on the way back home during the holiday, you can invite them to stay a few days in your guest bedrooms. Ultimately, college students are young adults who crave independence and respect. Unfortunately, many are still cocooned by their parents during their college years. They might feel uncomfortable being treated like kids while they are emotionally and mentally ready to be adults. Offering them a safe place inside your home can provide them with the privacy and respect they seek. It’s another home away from the sometimes overbearing attention of the parents. It’s a place where they can exist and be themselves safely.
Allow them to make their own mistakes
If only I had known before…
How often did you have that exact thought after making a mistake everybody warned you against? The thing about mistakes is that people need to make them to learn. Therefore, you are not likely to listen to someone’s unrequested advice even if it could prevent you from making mistakes. Students are prone to mistakes and errors of judgment. It’s an unavoidable part of growing up. Yet, more often than not, adults who have been through similar experiences try to interfere and prevent them from getting hurt. However, students are likely to be more grateful if you do not interfere with their lives. Let them make the same mistakes you made. All you have to do is be present for them when they need you. Your relationship will grow as you trust each other through the process.
Introduce them to meaningful contact
If your student wishes to become a software engineer, you could help them find out more about their dream job by introducing them to the programmer guy at your office. Do they want to be in marketing, and your best friend runs a marketing agency? Invite both of them for a chat. By getting them in touch with relevant contacts, you can help them find out more about their future career. They will appreciate your support.
Do you have a younger sibling or another relative attending college? Make sure to seize the opportunity to get close to them. College students are young adults who crave recognition for their interests, independence, passion, and skills. Whether you keep up to date with their college news or help introduce them to relevant business contacts, you can build a long-lasting relationship with them.