Being a university student, whether on a full-time or a part-time basis, can be exhausting. The time that lectures, tutorials, assignments and upcoming tests demand can distract us from the personal relationships that make us who we are.
In this post, I want to share two easy ways in which I have kept in touch with loved ones over the school year. A little effort goes a long way!
When my parents were college students, they sent snail mail overseas to communicate with each other. The letters were etched in ballpoint pen on a Muji lined legal pad, then mailed in manila envelopes before they arrived at their respective destinations weeks away. We are lucky to have email and instant messaging to have quick and spontaneous conversations (without the price of a stamp)! But then again, who doesn’t like receiving a letter every now and then?
I have written my mum postcards while I am away. Even though my partner is often only a subway ride away, we often exchange cards and letters over email briefing each other on our day. The cards I have written him now occupy a shelf in his room. Some of them are on old postcards my parents collected on their trips to Japan in the 90s, and others are holiday cards I bought in bulk from Winners. It is nice to have something tangible to remind yourself of the company that supports you.
Letter writing can be daunting, or maybe you are looking for a new pen pal. There is now a letter-writing club at the University of Toronto to help with both! Missives: Adventures in Letter-Writing (M.A.I.L.) will be a club at the University of Toronto this upcoming year. The club aims to ‘gather like-minded individuals within the U of T community to partake in the joys of letter-writing through club socials, pen-pal exchanges, and letter-affiliated projects in the community.’
On how the club started, co-president Malavika comments, “Yanni (other co-president) and I have been writing to each other since first year. We understood how letter writing allows for an exchange based on sharing ideas and experiences, and thus allows for a more meaningful conversation than the surface level small talk of lecture halls and Zoom breakout rooms.”
In addition to joining Missives, you can also partake in making small gifts and gestures to let your friends and family know you are loved! Origami is a really fun way to repurpose paper scraps into small figurines like frogs and cranes. Or if you live nearby a Canadian Tire or a Lowe’s, there are always affordable little plants on sale! You can also propagate a lot of them easily (take the pothos for example), turning one plant into many!
I hope that this post has been helpful in suggesting how you might keep in touch, even on a tough schedule! Make sure you let the ones you love and care for know you are there for them. The smallest gestures can go a really long way!