Family Support System Essay

Friends University is a University that asks a lot from its students, and the majority (if not all) are involved in extra-curricular activities on and off campus. Then, there are some students who surpass expectations, like my friend Panya Amphone. I met him when I first got to this University and he has never failed to impress me.

Panya is a Singing Quaker (a choir which is the University's pride and longest tradition,) a peer tutor, an instructor, a student worker, and, on top of all that, a student. I've seen his hard work and everything that follows it, and while he has made many achievements many people don't know the effort he puts behind his work.

I remember seeing his Snapchat where he was memorizing lines to the Mikado, and I remember thinking "I want to go see that." I saw his hard work and it paid off. The Mikado was a success and Panya and the other casts members really made it all worth it.

Sometimes, when people are doing phenomenally well there is always a group of people who have something negative to say and this, unfortunately, happened to my dear friend. He got a little personal on Snapchat this past weekend after KMEA (Kansas Music Educators Association.) Someone he really looked up to harshly and unjustly criticized his work and effort.

When I saw this, I felt distraught because I always tell my roommate how phenomenal Panya is and that I couldn't do half of the things he does. Hearing him pour out his emotions made me realize that it was about time to make an article saying how much I actually looked up to my friend.

No matter how much stress he is under, he always greets me with a hug and a smile that brightens my day, and, if I don't see him, he'll yell "PAMEEELAAAAA" (my middle name) across campus just so we can talk. It is safe to say that this type of friendship is my favorite; we talk about school, work, and sometimes his personal life, and even if it's just for a few seconds or five minutes I'm always happier.

I'm not a person who naturally goes and hugs anyone but I'll never reject a hug to anyone, especially Panya.

Panya, if you are reading this, I hope you're still killing the game (who are we kidding, of course you are) and know that negative comments should never cloud your vision because, at the end of the day, it is your dreams and your life, and only you can make these important choices. I'm sure there is an enormous team of supporters behind you, and I'll always be a part of that team, even if I'm not always visible.

Love your friend, PAMELAAAA.

Families, almost from their start, face forces that could pull them apart. When a family begins to mature, that potential loss of connection, that feeling of something changing, is difficult to confront.

And it makes communication even more important.

“This idea of feeling connected becomes very reinforcing, to all of us, and it contributes to happiness, it contributes to mental health and it does contribute also to physical health,” says John Northman, a psychologist from Buffalo, NY.

“It’s well known that when people feel better connected, that they feel better physically, they’re certainly less likely to feel depressed — or if they do, they’re in a better position to get out of being depressed.

“Overall, it leads to a feeling of a greater degree of support and connection psychologically,” he said.

It’s All About Support

The research on the importance of communication in families is strong and varied.

In the Handbook of Family Communication, editor Anita Vangelisti, a professor at the University of Texas, writes, “Communication is what creates families. When family members communicate, they do more than send messages to each other -- they enact their relationships.”

A paper in the journal Military Medicine says communication can cut both ways in families. It says that deployed soldiers can get a big dose of positivity when chatting with folks at home, but in some cases, that contact can have a negative impact.

It all boils down to this: Good family communication is important because families are what we most often turn to for support, Vangelisti says. If families aren’t communicating, support systems can fall apart.

Help for family members can take many different forms, Vangelisti says, including:

Emotional support: “Making us feel better, sharing in happy moments together,” she says.

Esteem support: “Making us feel good about ourselves, validating when we’re doing well, helping out when we’re not doing as well.”

Network support: “That sense of belonging. That’s really important with families, so you kind of have a home base, a place where you feel accepted and you belong, no matter what.”

Informational support: How to do things that maybe were done by others in another family setting.

Tangible support: Things like financial support and care packages from home.

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