Keeping in touch at uni

I’ve got to be honest, I’m surprised how well I have kept in touch with my friends at home over the last three years. My friendship group has not only retained most of it’s members, its expanded as we have introduced each other to our uni friends/boyfriends/girlfriends etc. It’s really not all that difficult to keep your friends and family up to date with your new life, although it may seem really daunting at first! To help with this, I’ve compiled a few tips to help you get your head around juggling home and uni friendships.

Skype or Facetime

I never used facetime or Skype all that much before uni. I eventually discovered, however, that they are probably the best ways to communicated with your friends and family when you’re not around them very often. I recommend, at least in the first term of uni, you arrange specific times every week/couple of weeks to facetime or skype your friends and family. This means that you always know when you’re going to ‘see’ them and it gives you something to look forward to if you’ve had a long day. If you’re parents are technophobes like mine, maybe take some time to teach them how to use skype before you go off to uni. This could be a fun (or frustrating) bonding activity that you hopefully won’t regret!

Group Chats

I swear by group chats, it’s how I sort out my social life and keep up to date with everything going on with all my different friendship groups. Maybe sort out different group chats for different friends (school, dance class, uni etc) so you can figure out what they are all up to and arrange meet ups when you’re all in the same area. I find this is a great way to let all your friends know any big news and just generally chat with them. Group chats are the best.

Visits

Nothing will stop you friend visiting home, or even inviting your friends and family to come and stay with you one weekend. It’s so nice to have a break from everything and return home, though this could be quite costly for some people who live far away. I highly recommend that you get a rail card before you start uni, this will save you so much more money than you spend on it. I also love having my friends from home come and visit Ormskirk, some of my friends have even been adopted as honorary parts of our uni friendship group because they have visited so often. It’s so lovely to see your old and new friends getting along together.

Enjoy yourself

You do need to keep in mind that you don’t have to constantly update the people at home, they’ll always be there. Try and take some time to spend with the people at uni and build upon those friendships too. Your friends and family will understand how busy uni is and shouldn’t expect you to have lengthy phone calls with them every night, you needn’t worry about keeping them up to date every day. So long as you don’t neglect them for months on end, your friendships will stay strong.

Until next time! 🙂

Learning the basics of communication

And so I read a book on communication skills, and my goodness, does does the theory work in real life! This post details a few things that I learned from studying communication, and how I’m gaining a better understanding of getting the right message across efficiently…

(This material is actually new to me, so apologies if all this sounds familiar to you already.)

Clearly thinking of the main intention and goal

Come to think of it, I’m quite surprised when I think of the amount of times I’ve spoken before thinking and created a tricky situation. Sometimes, not realising clearly what I wanted to communicate actually stopped me from communicating in the first place. I tried out this theory of ‘having a clear intention creates a smooth message delivery’ the other day, and it worked! – I managed to gain information, and not feel awkward afterwards because of poor delivery as I knew precisely what the intention and desired outcome was.

Keep an open mind

I’m even more shocked at how many times my mind has been so cloudy because of unnecessary filters like resistive thinking (ignoring opinions as I don’t agree with them 1000%) and interpretive thinking (having thoughts mostly influenced by a fandom of something). Instead, the book said clear your head of these filters so that you can concentrate on the discussion in a neutral and embracing way. I use this technique a lot more, as it means the conversation can happen without anything standing in the way.

Be clear, concise and captivating 

This is the approach that I have kept to mostly when doing presentations, as the pressure is a lot more when there are lots of people listening in so I have to try to be interesting for lengthy amounts of time. This approach can also work well in a one to one scenario for me, even if the conversation is super short. The worry I have sometimes is that I might be boring and a bit of a time waster, but at least if I tried to be strait to the point in a good way then that worry goes out the window in a way.

And so, these are a few things I have learned from researching communication. I’m not too sure of my own skill level quality yet – it could be low or moderate, but I don’t think it’s amazingly high just yet. This is new stuff to me… I thought communicating was simply talking and hoping for the best, but it turns out that it’s a lot more than that. I’m aiming to have much better communication skills by the start of my final semester as that’s when I’ll be applying for postgraduate study and / or jobs, and I want to be confident in knowing that I can fulfil that typical graduate skill of ‘great communication skills’.