Throughout the past year, I have pondered this question a lot. Being socially distant, while maintaining relationships takes a lot of work and it has to be consciously done.
We have all been zooming, Facetiming, hanging out in Google rooms, and even finding creative ways to maintain face-to-face relationships. I often tell first time freshman to be cautious about how many groups they get involved in, as this will take time away from their studies and there has to be a balance. But what about time for family and friends? Where does that fit in? These relationships play a large role in keeping us strong in our faith and create a support system that we will need to make it through this marathon of life.
First, we have to consider what we need personally to maintain a proper level of mental health and feel supported by our family and friends. Do you need to call home everyday? Once a week? These calls are important for siblings and parents to feel connected to your college experiences, but they also give you an outlet for gaining support by sharing frustrations and seeking advice. These phone calls home is really critical when you are away at college, because your family knows you best and they are the most supportive on your success. You need this reaffirmation that you are continuing on the right path and are achieving your success with one class at a time.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.John 13:34
God calls us to be in a relationship with Him and have fellowship with one another. How can you do this in college? Once again, you have to be intentional about your desire to stay connected. You have to carve out some time each day for personal reflection and growth in Christ. You can start a Bible study with your roommate, or start a plan and share it among family and friends using the Bible app. You can easily connect and share your spiritual thoughts and challenges this way, to make sure that you are getting the spiritual support that you need to be successful.
A Study Group
I commonly tell students to make friends or, at least, some connections in each class. This can provide valuable support when you might not understand something or if you need some encouragement in that class. A virtual study group, using an app like GroupMe, is a great way to add people to the group with the ability to mute the conversations when you need some time away, and to check in if you happen to miss a day. Go ahead and agree to start the group at the beginning of the semester, you will be glad that you did!
What keeps us connected?
Humans are social and complex individuals. To answer the question, we all have to make the effort to stay connected. We have to be purposeful in our communication, we have to seek support when we need it, and we have to have social ties to keep us grounded, and spiritual growth to keep us focused. We might feel like we are on a life raft out to sea, but it is time to toss the line to the raft boat next to you. When we are connected, we are stronger, more supported, and are more likely to succeed.Are you looking for a college where you won’t only receive an education for life, but also have an experience of a lifetime? UMHB wants to help you develop a clear vision of how to live a successful life, no matter where your path leads from here. We invite you to visit our website for more info, or stop by for a visit!