By Gabby Rente
As the semester winds down, students are eager to return home. Every meal is homemade, the laundry is free, and there are no assignments or deadlines.
But back home also means leaving your other home. Admit it. Washington College has slowly but surely become your home away from home where you can be who you want to be when you want to be. When you return to whence you came, there are suddenly chores and curfew, and maybe your room isn’t exactly your room anymore, but your dad’s new workout space.
Any homecoming is a mixed bag of emotions. While you miss your pets terribly, the social dynamic of home has also changed. Suddenly you may have to negotiate for the car if you want to go anywhere, or you find yourself out of the loop with family events. Who got married? Who’s expecting? Whose dog is this? So much of home has changed while you were gone.
But you have changed too.
For the fresher college student, who has newly discovered a sense of independence, the transition back home can be more difficult than expected —especially with parents who do not initially see this new burst of maturity.
This transition is challenging for both sides of the party. Students have adjusted to planning out their days exactly how they see fit, and parents still see their college kids as children.
For example, if your parents or guardians are trying to enforce a curfew, then do not hold it against them. They have spent the last 18 years worrying about you, which is a difficult habit to break. A good way to put their minds at rest is to simply tell them what your plans for the day are. Spending a late evening out with friends? Tell them you’ll be home late and ask that they trust you can get home in one piece.
Of course, this notion of making requests from parents is easier said than done, especially if you come from a protective family. You will need to prove to your parents just how mature you have become since leaving last August. If they say no to abolishing curfew, then try to find common ground. Acknowledging your parents’ concerns and validating their feelings is one step towards proving your maturity.
Another way of convincing your parents that you are an adult is to treat them with the same respect and consideration you would for a roommate. When you and your family are done eating dinner, start cleaning up plates and doing the dishes before your parents have to ask. You should know by now exactly what chores your parents will ask you to do, so get them done before they ask.
But what if your family starts getting on your nerves? This is just the same as a roommate conflict. The best way to handle this issue is to be honest with those that share a living space with you.
But aside from adjusting to a new home dynamic, you also need to figure out what to do with all of the free time on your hands. We have a month long winter break, and unless you have plans to do a seminar abroad, work, or take winter classes, then being home can quickly become boring.
Do not let all of this free time go to waste. Reconnect with friends from high school. Make plans with your college friends to meet up over break. Visit relatives you haven’t seen in a while. Attend local events in your town and rediscover what makes your hometown special. Catching up on Netflix shows is all fine and dandy, but at least invite some friends over and make some popcorn.
Get yourself home safely, flop down onto your bed, and get the rest you deserve, and just because you are back in your childhood home doesn’t mean you stop being an adult. You are in control of your life, and you are, beautifully, exactly where you are supposed to be. Enjoy your time off.