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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Keep them close

Like many of you, my first few weeks in college were a breath of fresh air.

I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, with whom I wanted. And, I abused that freedom quite a bit, playing video games until 3 a.m. and drinking Diet Coke for breakfast. Wasn’t I so cool?

Of course, what made by libertine streak possible was the lack of parental supervision. Though I live in Mishawaka — only a 15-minute drive to campus — my parents decided they would not become the helicopter variety and left me alone for the most part, with only weekly or biweekly updates.

As my first year went on, however, I found myself calling them much more often for advice or just to hear their voices. And with them living so close to Notre Dame, I was able to mooch some free meals off of them along the way as well.

And this brings me to the thesis statement of the column: Don’t be afraid to let your parents in.

As I’m entering my junior year, I can honestly say that I would not be anywhere near as successful if my parents weren’t as involved in my life. I know it sounds corny as heck, but I recommend giving it a try.

Your parents are some of the best people to talk to because they know exactly what you’re going through. They’ve bombed tests, they’ve missed assignments, been overloaded with work and yes, they’ve even had romantic entanglements that didn’t work out so hot.

With such a wealth of knowledge, they can be very insightful whether it’s knowing how to deal with a psycho professor or a convoluted social scenario. And even if they can’t give you a hard and fast answer, I’ve found that talking to them reminds me of a simpler, less stressful time in my life. It provides an escape for whatever you may be dealing with as you realize that there was a time when your problem didn’t even exist and there will be a time in the future when it won’t even matter.

Now, I am aware that not everyone is on the best of terms with their parents. It happens, because life isn’t like a sitcom. And if this is you, I would say this: Give it a chance. If you are on rocky ground with your mom or your dad, it’s probably a two-way street. If they messed up, call them and give them a chance to get back on the right foot, because they don’t want to be mad at you forever. If you messed up, give them a call and make things right. You may be surprised at how forgiving they can be.

Because while you’re experiencing freedom from them for the first time in your life, they’re experiencing separation from you for the first time in theirs. Just a quick phone call can make their day.

Let them help you, let them be a part of your life and you won’t be disappointed.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.