There’s something about getting mail that makes you feel like you actually exist.
Whether it’s a mailbox or mail stop, you have a physical location on this earth that is assigned to you and no one else. It sounds so simple, so “old timey,” now that most people use email and social networking sites to connect with each other, but there’s just something about reaching into a little box, grasping an envelope, and waiting with baited breath to see who sent it.
This is especially true in college, when every contact we make with our friends and family from home is virtual and on a screen. If you ever wonder why students get so excited to find out they have a package, this is why. It’s something physical and concrete they can hold. if it’s a care package from mom, then mom held it, too. Or if it’s a letter from a friend, then that notebook paper has been on another campus in another state.
Last year I received a surprise package from my friend Alisa (pronounced “Alice”) with a small note attached. I wrote her a page and a half of my excited ramblings and mailed it. A few weeks letter, a four-page letter was in my mail stop. And thus began our written correspondence for the next year.
As you can see, she decorates her letters with doodles.
And I decorate my envelopes.
I always look forward to her letters. I’ll rip open the envelope and start reading as I walk home, laughing at all the shenanigans she gets into (she’s in Princeton’s marching band so she has some pretty awesome stories), exclaiming in jealousy at the Lit course she’s in, or feeling lucky I don’t have to take another Comp-Sci class. No matter how long they are, they’re a wonderful read and lift my spirits (even if the topic isn’t “happy” it’s still good to hear from her). And yes, I keep all the letters!
I know, I know, writing letters by hand, who does that anymore?!? Getting me to write a thank-you note is like pulling teeth (I’d rather say thank-you in person) and sometimes I really don’t feel like replying to emails. Maybe it’s because I know I’ll get a relatively quick response, but with snail-mail there’s anywhere from a week to a month waiting time, giving me a chance to experience new things to write about. And come up with new ideas for envelope decoration!
No matter how you do it, keeping in touch with friends and family is crucial to your well-being in college. I may not talk to my parents daily, or even weekly, but I still want to know how they’re doing. The same applies to friends. Just as I have friends on campus I see daily (my roommates) or weekly (Ben, Alex, Mary, the list is very long), there are people from back home I still keep in touch with (Stacey, Phoebe, Alisa).
Even though writing a letter can be time consuming, or I don’t always know what I want to say, it’s still worth while. It’s like writing in a journal, but there aren’t more empty pages that stare up at you when you’re done. You know something will be returned.