My mom is my best friend. We're like Rory and Lorelai in Gilmore Girls except farther apart in age (she had me at 38) and geography (we live on opposite coasts). My dad is the real–life Phil Dunphy—doler of hugs, advice and some seriously bad dad jokes. We're also close.

My parents live 2,900 miles away in California. When I first got to Penn they FaceTimed me at frat parties and called during class. Over time, we established a better system for staying in touch: 

  • Calls while walking to class: You may think you're too busy to talk to Mom and Dad, but the 15–minute walk from Huntsman to Fisher–Bennett is a perfect time to update them on your life. Plus, you'll have an exit strategy.
  • Snapchat: Photos of your homework or the gourmet meal you made. Just be careful what you story.
  • Download Bond: Bond is an app that works with different messaging and communication services to help users stay in touch with their loved ones. Bond sends customized push notifications like "Call Mom" or "Text Dad." Clicking on the notification automatically connects you to your parents, so now you have no excuse for going MIA.
  • Long–Distance Movie Nights: Rabbit is a group chat service that lets you watch movies and TV shows on the same feed as other users. You and your Mom can still giggle your way through rom–coms.
  • Long–Distance Dance Parties: Use sites like to listen to music together, create shared playlists and video chat. Be honest, you miss seeing your parents rock out to Bruce Springsteen.
  • Spontaneous Heart Emojis: You may be eight shots deep, but at least you're thinking of them.
  • Traveling Disposable Camera: Someone needs to be the recipient of the fifty identical photos of your and your girl squad.
  • Virtual Care Packages: Your parents gave you the gift of life so they shouldn't care if your selfie collection is "narcissistic" or "obnoxious." Ditto to your emoji usage.
  • The thumbs up emoji: So your parents know you're alive and thriving.