I went far away for law school, about 6 hours far away. My closest family is at least 2 hours away and I rarely get to see or talk to them. That being said, it’s still important to stay connected to family and friends even when you are far away. I see myself as some what of an expert on this. I’ve lived away from family for almost 5 years and did a long distance relationship with Patrick for 3 years. So far, my family doesn’t hate me and Patrick and I are married so I have to be somewhat good at this.
One of the keys to staying connected when you’re far from home is to actually take the initiative and know what’s going on in other peoples’ lives. I know my cousin Jess just had a baby at the end of December. I know my dad is trying to quit smoking. I know my cousin Sam is going away to college (and I know which college) in the fall. I know these things because I pay attention to social media and make an effort to ask about other peoples’ lives when I do call home. My family is important to me and I like knowing what they are doing. If you are going to make the effort, a lot of times no one really will.
We’re lucky that we live in a time where cell phones are common, skype and facetime exist, and our main source of communication isn’t letters anymore. I remember one of the last trips to Middletown to see my great grandma before she passed, we were going through some of the things in her house. We found a letter my great grandpa had written her where he talks about the hotel he’s staying at and how nice it was. I still have a love for old letters and getting mail but it’s great to know that those aren’t the only source of communication we have.
Social media and skype make it easier to know what’s going on at home or with your friends. I used to skype home all the time to see my parents dog. Unfortunately, small town Wisconsin doesn’t have great internet service so that was short lived. I frequently snapchat (yes, I know it’s not as common as it was) with my cousins and get to see what they are doing. It sucks missing baby showers or family BBQs because you’re away at school but keeping in touch with family is easier and easier. Those people who are so far from law school can be a sounding board and help keep you grounded. I can’t tell you the number of times I call my best friend or my mom or facebook message my two best friends from college to complain about law school related things. They have no idea what law school is like but let me vent to them and help me realize life is bigger than what goes on in these four walls of law school. Take the initiative and see what your favorite cousin or aunt is up to. You may be surprised how much they want to hear from you and how much easier law school can be with friends and family supporting you.