Being away from home is often difficult for many people, especially when one is engulfed by work and stress. However as a graduate student here at Columba College Chicago, we still have the opportunity to head home for the holidays after our first semester. During this time, I’ve come to realize how grateful I am to have the support system that I do in my life. I would not be where I am today without my wonderful family and friends. It’s so important to find strong interpersonal relationships within your life that will support your journey through graduate school.
Getting the opportunity to come home for the holidays has been such a fantastic treat. I am very close with my family, so moving away has caused me to value their company that much more. Seeing my friends from home around this time of year is also a very special occasion because we all happen to be home, even some of my friends from out of state! Also, being in a long-distance relationship has caused me to value my visits back to Michigan immensely. Luckily, this holiday we had the opportunity to celebrate together and spend time with both of our families. Looking upon their loving, smiling faces as they each inquired about my time here in Chicago has put me in such a state of appreciation. It also got me thinking about the importance of interpersonal relationships within our lives and how we must work to maintain them.
Interpersonal relationships are considered strong, deep, or close acquaintances between two or more people formed in the context of social or cultural influences. As human beings, we are innately social and our interactions with others directly create our experience with the world, ultimately shaping who we become as individuals. So you can pretty much agree, interpersonal relationships are HUGELY important throughout our lives. However it is often difficult to maintain them, especially as we grow older and our lives continue to change. My best advice is to take advantage of technology and the many ways we now have as methods to communicate with one another. If all you have is Skype, FaceTime, a phone call or a letter—take the time to do it! These people have more than likely helped you along the way to finally beginning your journey; don’t leave them behind at the starting line. Bringing these important people along for the ride will strengthen your relationship that much more, even if the distance makes it that much harder. It will be worth it to have those important people there with you at the finish line.
Coming home for the holidays can be such a sweet escape from the grad school grind. However for some, it can turn into a whole different world of stress within itself. Not everyone has created strong interpersonal relationships at home, and that is perfectly fine. It is important however, to figure out which relationships in your life mean the most to you, and do whatever you can to maintain them, so that they may remain healthy and strong. Second to taking care of your own health, it is the most important job that you have! Along with this idea remains the importance of self-care that I can never stress enough. During your time of “break,” try to make sure you do just that—BREAK. Somehow or someway, whether coming home for the holidays is filled with absolute joy or stressful family matters; do something for yourself other than school that will take you to a place of happiness and recuperation. You owe it to yourself to make time for relaxation and self-care. Also, it’s good to remember that a healthier you, will aid in maintaining those strong, healthy relationships!