Family and Friends Weekend is a great way for students to connect their two homes. The upcoming days will promote exciting on-campus activities to showcase SRU’s finer features. Aside from the community benefits of these events, outsiders of the university get a better perspective of day-to-day campus patterns and perks. This weekend can help students to consider the ‘bigger picture’: the relationships between students and their friends and families. Principally, Family and Friends Weekend should also be used by students to reflect on personal growth. Evaluating the relationships among students, friends, and families are a great gauge for determining how much students can change over four short years because they provide context for how drastically student perspective changes.
The relationships that college students have with their friends and families are dynamic and can often change greatly over the course of four years. Freshmen generally have a much closer and dependent relationship with their families than upperclassmen by virtue of age and life experience. This should come as no surprise. However, the sooner one becomes cognizant of that principle, the better equipped he or she is to become comfortable with the ensuing change. Becoming comfortable with that change is a great framework for being more appreciative of friends and family.
As a second-year graduate student, I frequently reflect on how members of my family have supported my aspirations to the best of their abilities, and how new friends of mine have forced me to become the best version of myself. I did not consider this about my friends and family nearly as thoughtfully four years ago because I was much more concerned with “doing” than “thinking.” Doing more “thinking” has made the relationships between myself, my friends, and family much more meaningful. Reflecting on what has changed, and what should change over the course of college is essential for learning how to better appreciate one’s peers. Coincidentally, considering the perspective of others is the chief criterion for becoming more aware of personal growth. Thinking more considerately of others helps one think more considerately of him or herself.
For college students, becoming more conscious of personal growth and the perspectives of others boils down to questions like this: How much time have families thanklessly spent traveling to see their children? How often do friends help each other in a pinch? To what lengths do friends go to make sure that they are able to make time for each other? Friends and families are a rock for what could be a volatile and turbulent period of a person’s life in college. Considering the subtle and thankless ways that they make life easier and more worthwhile is important because doing so opens up the possibility of greater relationships with friends and families.
Ultimately, Friends and Family Weekend means much more than slugging through a set of busy activities. For visiting friends and families, this weekend could be the most powerful and important time of the year when put into its proper context. Students should think about their time and place as it pertains to the people around them, and take the opportunity to reflect on how their relationships with friends and families have shaped them.