I would consider myself well adjusted to college life. I also call home often. For some reason, there seems to be some sort of stigma attached to calling home or visiting home, as though holding onto what you had before makes you incapable of gaining anything from college.

To me, this is simply not the case. You don’t have to forget everything about your past in order to build the best future, and of all the things I’ve learned in college so far, the realization that positive relationships can greatly improve your life is one of the most important ones.

Therefore, I have no desire to let go of old positive relationships simply because I moved away.

Like anything in college, it’s about balance. Calling home often is only a problem if you do so in place of giving new people a chance. Staying friends with people from high school is only a problem if you’ve made no attempts to make additional friends.

You’re not “doing college wrong” if you talk to your family regularly or still Skype your best friend from high school. You’re not missing out if you go home for a weekend.

You’re missing out if you let the fear of what people will think of you get in the way of doing what you actually want to do. In college, it seems as though everyone wants to look like they’re having the best time ever. This means going out every day of every weekend, meeting “your people’ instantaneously and getting involved in campus in any way that you can.

It’s like college is this competition of who misses home the least. Missing home doesn’t inherently mean that you don’t have a social life, involvements or any friends. Missing home means that you care about people or places that you had to leave behind; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

There’s nothing wrong with caring about people. There’s nothing wrong with wanting time to yourself or time with your family or time to reflect. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a Skype date with your best friend over a party.

Your college experience is about you. Not other people’s opinions, not your Instagram feed, not your Facebook photo album. To ensure that you have a great experience, go out and meet new people. Try new things. Get involved.

But you don’t have to let go of your old friends to make new ones, and you don’t have to reject every event invitation in order to have time to keep in touch with people. You don’t have to forget where you came from in order to go places.

During my first year of college, I made a point to not go home very often. I thought I was so well adjusted as a freshman, so comfortable in my new home. In some ways, I was, but I was also still learning. And I continue to learn. However, as a sophomore, I don’t feel as though I have to prove myself to other people. I feel as though I can do what I want, which is an often chaotic mixture of getting involved on campus, making new friends, exploring new places, and keeping in touch with family and friends.

I am no longer overwhelmed by “FOMO.” I know that if I go home one weekend, I can have a great time, and when I come back to campus, I can have a great time.

College is hard sometimes, and in those moments, you might want to talk to someone. College is exciting sometimes, and in those moments, you might want to talk to someone. It’s OK to pick up the phone.

College is full of possibilities, and these possibilities will still exist if you call or visit home. Really.

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the author

Paige Sheffield is a student at Central Michigan University. In addition to writing for The Prospect, she writes for her campus newspaper, You On Top Magazine, and more. She is also a TP Editorial Internship Co-coordinator. She loves poetry, coffee, statement jewelry, zumba, politics, and the Great Lakes. She is passionate about arts education and currently volunteers and interns with organizations that provide art-related programming to underserved populations. You can follow her on twitter @paige_sheff.

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