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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

In the Spotlight: Embracing FLI-mily: The Many Forms Family and Home Can Take

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While most students discuss going home for winter break, you may not be able to go home for reasons relating to family issues or financial struggles. These situations are hard, intimidating, and incredibly isolating, especially when it seems as though everyone else around you is excited to leave. You may even feel excluded, as your home is not a place where you feel invited or have a true family. Here are some key things to remember and consider as you navigate these obstacles.

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Where You Are From ≠ Your Home

While you may have heard this phrase or something similar before, it is important to truly reflect and understand that you do not have to consider your last place of residence your home. You may not even consider a physical location a home, but rather see a person or an object as your home. Ultimately, you have the power to self-define what you do or do not view your home as. Whether or not you view your hometown as home is up to you; embrace that freedom!

Family Does Not Consist Only of Blood Relations

We do not like everybody we encounter, and not everybody we encounter likes us. This basic understanding of personalities and individuality is one we also need to apply to the concept of family. Like the idea of home, your family is however you wish to define it, whether in the realm of related family, chosen family, etc. You may not be related to your dog, but that does not devalue the love you feel for your pet. Relish in the forms of family you have found at Stanford, and if you so choose to, embrace the family you may be returning to during the break.

Do Not Be Afraid to Reach Out

If you have met people at Stanford you consider your family, reach out to them over break! Send them a game of 8-ball or a text wishing them a happy holiday; remember that choosing your family also requires choosing to reach out to them! Also, consider resources such as the Opportunity Fund through the First Generation/Low Income (FLI) Student Success Center if you are struggling to leave Stanford financially. 

Ultimately, remember that these challenges are not singular to you, although you as an individual are unique and your struggles are valid. Allow yourself the space, time, and empathy that you need to navigate this time of the year.

Written by: Chavi Coy, Class of 2026

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Stanford Resources

  • FLI Student Success Center: The FLI Student Success Center provides holistic support for first generation, low-income, transfers, current/former foster youth, and FLI graduate students at Stanford. This includes providing critical resources, networks, and services that set them up for success. 
  • Need Help Funding Your Winter Return? Check out the Opportunity Fund! The Opportunity Fund is designed to financially assist undergraduate students who are experiencing an unexpected financial challenge or seeking funds for an opportunity related to their academic and/or professional development.
  • Mental Health and Well-Being Resources Specifically Curated for FLI individuals: Explore resources available for FLI graduate students, including well-being coaches, professional counseling, group counseling, and more!
  • If you are still local to the area and are experiencing food insecurity, check out the list of Food Security Resources available to FLI students. Learn more about the Food Pantry, CalFresh, and budget-friendly eats on campus.
  • Mental Health Resources at Stanford: Your go-to guide for navigating the many mental health and well-being resources on campus. Explore a list of professional staff, peers, and other campus resources that are ready to support you.

Additional Resources