Going Old School Spruces Up the College Mailbox Experience

“You’ve got mail!” You won’t hear that AOL phrase when you go to your college mail box, but you can still think it. With technology being a prominent feature in daily life, the glories of the pony express are lost on society. You’re never too old, or too distracted by technology, to dwell on the simple joy of receiving a letter.

Extra, extra, read all about it!

Everyone has that favorite magazine or newspaper. It can be informative about world news or just keep you up to date in pop culture. While receiving mail is a fun experience, don’t forward your subscriptions to your college mailbox. Switching addresses often can become confusing with your subscription and hard to keep up with. Instead, pick up your favorite publication at a local newsstand or convenience store. Better yet, read your favorite monthly, weekly, or daily for free at your college’s libraries. Most keep the most recent copies on hand. Just don’t rip out your horoscope to use as a pick up line later.

Hello stranger

Raise your hand if you’ve ever rolled your eyes at yet another Facebook invitation or message from a friend. Those get old really fast. Surprise your friends back home or away at other colleges with a letter. Your friend will realize that you took time out of your day to do something pleasant for them. It doesn’t have to be a daily chain mail type of thing like in the Notebook, but an occasional letter can keep you close with your friends. Don’t feel like you have to spill out all of your emotions the way Noah did in his serial letters. Sending a temporary tattoo you found in your cereal box or a printout of a coloring page can be exciting to find in an envelope, too.

Grandma, it’s called the internet

Let’s face it. Grandma and grandpa may not be “hip” with the latest technology. Being away from home months at a time can make your grandparents, or any other family member, seem distant. Write a letter home to family members you can’t keep in touch with through e-mail. Phone calls are nice, but so are letters. You can say a lot more in a letter since you’re not rushed to hang up the phone on your way into class. Who knows? Maybe grandma even wants a temporary tattoo.

Send it

Mailboxes are easy to find around campus, but packages don’t always work with those lovely boxes of blue metal. Many colleges have post offices in a building on campus. There shouldn’t be the dread of dealing with a disgruntled worker, such as at your hometown DMV or post office. These employees are used to dealing with students who need to return books or send an unneeded object home. Don’t know how to send a package? No problem! The workers at your college post office can show how to send a package, or even a letter overseas to your friend studying abroad.

Stamp and seal

When packing for college, stamps and envelopes probably weren’t on your checklist. However, these are handy to keep in your desk at school. Sometimes you need to send a resume and cover letter, or even a check to an organization you’re in. Stamps and envelopes can be found at the college post office or at your local Walgreens. You never know when you’ll need them, so it’s helpful to keep on hand.

It’s an election year?!

One last piece of advice — don’t forget that 2012 is an election year. Even when away from home and your voting district, you can still cast a vote for your preferred presidential candidate. Go online to find your city’s voting office. On the website, you can find the address for sending an application for an absentee ballot. It’s simple and easy. With this option, there’s no excuse not to vote in the election.

Unhitch yourself from your technological devices. Go old school and send letters.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.