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Call your mother

Call your mother

Michelle Tedford December 14, 2021

The edict is age-old, but how we’ve stayed connected to our families while away at college has changed drastically in the last century. Gone are the long lines for the single phone in each dorm, which was perfect if you wanted everyone to know your business. 

When phones moved into the rooms, students started talking — a lot. In the mid-1990s, the chatter generated more than
$1 million a year in long-distance revenue for UD. I called home on Sunday afternoons, when the rates were cheapest and I needed to procrastinate.

Mobile phones changed the communications game. As fewer calls came into the University’s phone system, UD switched its focus toward strengthening cell coverage and creating a robust Wi-Fi system to ensure students got a signal, even in the basement laundry room of Marycrest. By 2005, students had to bring their own phones to plug into the room jacks, and long-distance revenue dropped to $10,000. During November 2016, only four calls came into student rooms — all from telemarketers — and only one student made an outgoing call. During the summer of 2017, all room lines were removed.  

With connectivity in their hands, it’s easy for today’s students to reach out. They talk, text, videochat and send snaps, but as these students can attest, one fact remains timeless: they still call their mothers.

University of Dayton students using phones on campus throughout the years.
University of Dayton students using phones on campus throughout the years.


I usually call once a week, Wednesdays around 3 when I get back to my room after history class is done. Mom answers the phone. I talk to her about my classes, difficult assignments I have and fun stuff, like bowling and pool with my friends at The Hangar; I’m trying to break my bowling record of 188. And about once a month, I’ll walk the 30 minutes home to see them in person.

—Aiden Beck ’25
HOMETOWN: Oakwood, Ohio
MAJOR: Nursing


Every night around 7 or 8 p.m. — in Beijing, that’s 7 or 8 a.m. — I have a videochat conversation with my parents on WeChat. And during the day, I will send them messages, “Look what I cooked today” or this is what class is like or an interesting story from my life. The daily video schedule started during COVID because they are worried for me, and I have not visited home in two years. The chats are a way for me to say, “Everything is going well for me and I am safe today.”

—Yifan Yin ’19
HOMETOWN: Beijing, China
MAJOR: Teaching English to speakers of other languages


I call my grandmother, dad, sister. Mom’s a teacher, so I can call her after 4 p.m. I have a brother, too, but I usually only text him because he never answers his phone. They want to know how I’m doing physically, mentally, emotionally, and how classes are going. I’m always connected to them, and it eases my mind to know they are OK. 

—Isolyn Radford ’23
MAJOR: Engineering


I text my mom in the morning when I first get up to make sure she’s still alive. “Good morning, Mom,” I say. I tell her what I’m doing today, and she tells me she’s proud of me. I have a 12-year-old Chihuahua named Buddy, so I’ll ask her to FaceTime so I can see him. She texted me a picture of her holding a hammer, saying, “Look at me; I just fixed something all on my own.”

—Cameron Nowlin ’22
HOMETOWN: Cincinnati 
MAJOR: Human rights

I talk to my mom every day or every other day. Sometimes it’s texting, sometimes it’s calling. And mom is big into Snapchat. We were home for part of last year, so we now feel closer as a family. If I’m stressed out here and need someone to talk to, they are there for me.

—Annie Muck ’22
HOMETOWN: Covington, Kentucky
MAJOR: Premed


I’ll call Dad on the way home from the gym, and at work, I’ll Facetime Mom. Even if just one of us reaches out, Mom will add in Annie and it becomes a call with the three of us together. Annie and I know that we’re not going home after graduation and we’ll each go our separate ways, which is sad and scary. But we can stay connected. Dad’s stories put it all in perspective, like about having to stand in line for the pay phone to call his girlfriend. 

—Audrey Muck ’22
HOMETOWN: Covington, Kentucky
MAJOR: Finance

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