So you’ve arrived at uni. You’ve settled into your room, made lifelong friends with your flatmates (in the ten minutes you’ve known them) and spent equal amounts of time drinking, experimenting with new clubs and societies and even attending a couple of lectures. Isn’t there something you’re forgetting?

It’s probably the last thing on your mind at the moment, but do bear in mind that your parents are almost certainly sat back at home worried sick about you, hoping for the phone / Skype / Whatsapp to ring. They won’t want to bother you when you’re busy having fun and embracing your newfound independence, but we guarantee that they’re thinking about you. And after they’ve spend 18 years and a not inconsiderable amount of cash helping you go get to where you are now, wouldn’t it be nice to repay the favour a little?

Keep them updated

Your parents really want to hear how you’re doing; they want to know that you’re ok, and that you’re having fun. But it’s easy to find yourself going into too much detail, and making them worry more or even realising too late that you’ve said something really embarrassing. So here’s a handy checklist of things you should and shouldn’t say to your parents.

Do SayDon’t Say
The food in the Student’s Union is lovelyI’ve been living on Pot Noodles and vodka
I’ve made some really great friendsWith benefits
My course is going really wellI threw up on my lecturer’s shoes
I’m really enjoying clubs and societiesI’m still recovering from last week’s social
My new friends are really enjoying the recipes you gave meI set the kitchen on fire and bought everyone takeaway
I’m really missing youI’m not missing you at all
I’m being really careful with moneyI blew my loan on a PS4, expensive trainers and a stuffed aardvark

Write a letter

Chances are your parents are old enough to remember when people sent one another actual letters, rather than emails or Snapchats. They’ll probably really appreciate if you take the time to sit down and write them; it’s that much more personal than a few pixels on the front of a smartphone. Since you’ve probably never had to write a letter before, here’s a handy guide.

You will need:

  • A pen or pencil (the stylus from your tablet will not work)
  • Paper (a page from a notebook is fine; toilet roll not so much)
  • An envelope
  • A stamp

You’ll be able to pick up all of these from the SPAR on campus if you don’t have them already.

Directions

  1. Use the pen to write your letter on the paper. Remember that there is no backspace or undo button.
  2. Fold up the letter and place it in the envelope.
  3. Write your parents address on the envelope.
  4. Realise you’ve forgotten to buy a stamp.
  5. Put the letter in your drawer.
  6. Forget about it.
  7. Find it three weeks later
  8. Realise that you’ve already told your parents everything you wrote
  9. Put stamp on and send it anyway (there’s a post box near Student Central)

Use technology

Lovely though the personal touch of a letter is, in the scheme of things it’s also a massive faff. It’s worth getting your parents trained up a little bit on modern technology like Whatsapp so you can easily chat to them over that. You probably already have a family Whatsapp group which is perfect for the job. What we’d recommend avoiding is having your parents as friends on Facebook, or following you on Insta, or Snapchat – or whatever. No matter how hard you try not to post incoherent drunken 3am statements bemoaning your current existential crisis (which you’ll have forgotten about by the next afternoon) you DEFINITELY won’t be able to avoid your new friends posting pictures of you half naked asleep upside down in the sink surrounded by empty bottles. If you need to start up a new Facebook, do it. Seriously. You don’t need the hassle, they really don’t need to see the video of Jerome from D block giving you a prison tattoo of a camel on your arse.

Don’t stress

Chances are your parents are super excited that you’re away at university; they want you to have fun and enjoy yourself, as well as working hard and staying safe. Keep them up to date, but they’ll understand if you don’t want to talk every day.