Dear Sista Friend,
As I transition from one state/graduate program/school to the next I am faced with the reality that my time is going to be even more valuable than it was before. Working a full time job and going to graduate school full time wasn’t easy. I often had to sacrifice social time with friends for class, reading, writing or honestly just catching up on sleep!
However, I’ve learned that it is important for both you and your family/friends to take time to hang out/talk on the phone/Facetime. Although you are the one in school, this is still a transition/change for your loved ones. It may take some time for them to get used to not seeing you or talking to you every day. Below are a few tips to help ease the transition and balance your school/work life with your personal life:
- Discuss how the change will affect the relationship. Although, the important people in your life should be happy and supportive of the amazing opportunity that has been presented to you. This is not always the case, rather it doesn’t seem like it because they are complaining about your lack of communication. Having a conversation about the change that is about to occur may lessen the blow once your text and calls lessen.
- Schedule time weekly to call your family/friends. If you set a specific time each week for that person they will feel special knowing you made time for them. It will also ease their anxiety about not knowing when they will hear from you next. If you set the time and date, stick to it. My friends and I literally schedule time to talk. We even send calendar invites! Because let’s be honest, if it’s not on my calendar, it probably won’t happen. We all have busy schedules but I am a firm believer that we make time for what we want to make time for.
- Include them in the milestones. Whether you pass a test, win an award, complete a big project, secure an assistantship; shoot them a text letting them know the good news. Finding out through social media is very impersonal. A quick text message will allow them to feel the personal connection and that they know what’s going on in your life.
- Schedule time to see them. Whether it’s a quick lunch, dinner & a movie, or a fun trip. Take the time to see them in person. This may even be more beneficial to you than it is for them. It will give you time to decompress, destress, and reenergize yourself.
This is not a full proof plan because change is hard in general. We all have super busy periods in our lives where almost everyone gets neglected at some point. The important part is to make sure that when you do come up for air, you reach out to your loved ones to check in and see how their lives are going.
Your Sista Friend,
Devean R. Owens
Devean is originally from Little Rock, AR and graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with a bachelors degree in advertising and public relations & strategic communication as well as a Master of Education in Educational Leadership – Higher Education. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Diversity and Equity in Education with a minor in African American Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.