Let’s take a moment to think back to high school. Oh, yes: the inconsistent friendships, the pretending, and the unbearably awkward social interactions. I’m immediately reminded of that one time that I was dropped by my dance partner and landed on my head in front of my entire team. Some stories like this will never be forgotten, but thank the Lord that for this period of time, the phrase “this too shall pass” rings true.

The average high school experience also includes a powerful fear of merging friends with your family. For whatever reason in high school, it is generally known that your family is exceedingly uncool. Having your family members present at any event with friends was considered sure-fire social suicide. We tended to use our time in high school to try and separate ourselves from the constant presence of our family and spend much more time with friends. That’s what is considered normal and acceptable, using high school logic, anyway.

Thankfully, this high school truth usually reverses in college. If you’re anything like me, and you decide to move hundreds of miles away from your hometown to attend a university, (a choice I would surely make all over again), your family suddenly becomes just about the best thing ever.

After high school, I began to develop a desire to introduce all of my friends to my family and keep them a part of my life. I no longer fill my parents in on my life’s events because I have to–now I really want to.

The times when I do get to see my family are so much more exciting, as it only happens every so often during a busy semester. This past weekend, my parents and brother drove down from northern California to visit. I couldn’t successfully contain my excitement as I heard their knock on my apartment door. Visits are now eagerly anticipated, as we get to catch up on life and I get to show them off to my friends.

When your family visits your university, you suddenly come up with thousands of possible things to show them. I always have way too many events placed on my agenda when my family visits, one of the first being a trip to Target to stock up on everything that I lack. Believe me, you never fully appreciate free deodorant until you have to get used to buying it yourself. When your parents buy things for you, like groceries and movie tickets and an off-campus dinner, it’s a marvelous treat. (Thanks, family!)

After the initial shopping spree and dinner out to Thai food, I was able to take my family to Laguna Beach, the giant antique shop downtown, and to my new church. I had such an amazing time that I can fully appreciate a separate world from my high school years. Showing my family all the things I have discovered at my new home and connecting them with my friends and their families is such a huge thrill.

College most certainly depletes the high school mentality and brings a new excitement for bridging two worlds together. I guess that’s one of the perks of growing up!