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Calling home, whatever home may be

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Family makes up a large part of my identity. Despite the physical distance between all of us — with my parents at work, my siblings working in LA and myself in college — I’ve never felt disconnected from any of them. Because of this, though, moving away for college was extremely difficult. But the power of family group chats and FaceTime calls has made the transition a little more bearable.

I was pretty good at keeping in touch with my parents and siblings for the first few weeks at school. Leaving home reminded me of the many times I took family for granted, so I made sure to consistently communicate with them. I FaceTimed my parents after a busy day or called my siblings in between classes and, to be honest, I felt closer to them than ever before. 

But then, the weeks caught up. It felt like life got busier every day, and time was cleverly slipping from my hands. Before I knew it, I hadn’t called my parents or texted my siblings in weeks.

The most interesting part of all of this was that for those weeks, I felt like something was missing from my routine. Calling home always gave me a chance to slow down and reflect, but I felt like the business of my days consumed my ability to do so. I missed it.

Not only did calling home give me a chance to reflect, but it also reminded me to take care of myself. My mom never fails to nag me about taking my vitamins, my dad always reminds me to eat well, my sister keeps me emotionally sane and my brother constantly reminds me that if I’m going out, I should only go out with people I can trust. Calling home reminds me of all the little things. And if there’s anything I’ve learned within my 18 years of living, it’s that the little things are what matter most.

So, while I eagerly await Thanksgiving break and family dinners, I’ll keep in mind how important calling home is to me. I urge you to do the same. “Home” is different for everyone. Call anyone that reminds you of home — anyone that feels like home — and take a minute to reflect. No matter how busy your days may be, you owe yourself at least a couple minutes to stop and smell the roses. 

Contact Jeong Shin at jyshin ‘at’ stanford.edu.