You’ve Got Mail!

A common piece of advice when you go to college, or as you grow up in general, is to not forget to call your mom. It’s easy to keep in touch electronically, but what about the classic handwritten letter? Since I started going to Rochester, I have kept in touch with friends and family both electronically and with snail mail. If you haven’t sent somebody you care about a letter recently, read on for reasons you should!

It’s a fun surprise

You know how you feel when somebody gives you a spontaneous gift? It takes you by surprise to receive something. It feels great, especially if you’re having a bad day. That’s basically what getting a letter is like. Here you are, just going about your day when you decide to check your mailbox. Expecting to find it empty or full of ads, you are pleased to see something different. It brightens up your day before you even open the letter, and often the contents brighten it even more.

Time is precious

A common reason college students don’t call their parents is that they are busy. Communicating via snail mail allows busy students to update their families on all the fun things they’re doing in college. They can write whenever and for however long. With phone calls whose purpose is to catch up, there’s typically an expectation that you talk for at least ten minutes. That’s an arbitrary number, but you get my point. With letters, you can write in the five minutes you have before class starts, while you’re eating lunch, and finish it as a cool-down activity before going to bed so it can be sent off in the morning.

Keep up with friends from high school

Letters make it easy to keep in touch with people you’re not very close with, but you’re still interested in how they’re doing. Send them an update every couple of months and hopefully they’ll write back so you know they are alive and doing well. This is a great option for friends from high school who you may not see much.

Not everybody likes cell phones

Writing letters also allows you to keep in touch with less technologically-advanced people. If you have grandparents who don’t know how to use Skype/FaceTime, you can still communicate with them while you’re in school. Even if your older family members do know how to use technology, it may still be more comfortable for them to keep in touch with something they’re more familiar with.

Use some pretty paper

Stationary geeks, rejoice! Finally, and maybe this is just a weird “me thing,” but choosing stationery to write your letter on is enjoyable. You can personalize the card and the stamp you use to suit the person you’re sending it to. You can even design and print your own address labels. Every time you go to a store you can look for new, cute cards. I recommend the dollar store for affordable stationery.

You pay $32 every semester for the privilege of having a mailbox on campus. Why not get your money’s worth? Your family will appreciate it too!

About the author

Kayla Zilke

I'm a member of the Class of 2021 from Seattle, WA majoring in psychology with minors in business and environmental humanities. I'm involved with Quidditch, GreenSpace, EcoReps, intramural sports, the Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth, and Hatha Yoga.

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