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Home can be as complicated as communications

Home can be as complicated as communications

Jul 18, 2019

For a lot of people, “home” means comfort. It’s a place they reminisce about fondly, especially in the summer, looking back on family traditions and trips.

I tend to fade into the background of these conversations. It’s not because of a lack of interest. It’s a lack of relatability. Growing up, when I would step away, it felt like I was the only one who couldn’t contribute. But that changed when I got to college.

In my first couple of years at Michigan State, I discovered lots of students felt like I did. They weren’t as excited for holiday breaks because of the homes that they would have to retreat back to — homes that lacked parental figures, comforting memories or even safe spaces. 

I didn’t have a mother or father figure in my life as a teen. 

My firsthand experience with the emotional and psychological hardships that I associated with that void made me feel alone amongst a group of peers being raised in two-parent homes. One of the biggest differences that stood out to me was the lack of support I experienced. 

My grandparents stepped in and took place as much as possible. They took care of me, and raised me the best that they could. Although it never replaced the true feeling of having your biological parents, it did help ease the void. 

Even as I left my grandparents nest, I was able to find further support and comfort within my mentor on campus. As we grew a bond she began to support my every endeavors and made sure I never went without the encouragement— as a transitioning college student— needed. 

As children grow and develop, no matter what their community looks like, they absorb ideas, and experience situations they build off of throughout life. A lot of what they absorb begins at home — the way they socialize, the way they carry themselves, and even the things they believe in. If there’s no healthy communication at home, it is important the communities those adolescents grow up in have spaces where they can interact with other people who will help build those skills. So often, it’s who fill those parental roles when they’re missing at home. Perhaps the importance of this fundamental communication is why I’ve chosen communications as a career field.

And while teachers are an essential part of the community, it doesn’t end there; school counselors, coaches and mentors— such as the ones that I encountered— all aid the true growth of kids who lack in areas of support from parental figures. It is important that when kids step out of their home— no matter their background— they are able to seek support through many channels. 

The same goes for public relations. At Piper & Gold, we know it’s important to not just interact with the community, but to give the people the community supports the space they need for growth and development. Because while the conversation about happy and good things may be the loudest and most fun, it’s the people fading into the background who may need the most engagement.

Lauren Hullum

Student Strategist