Returning home after spending months on campus can be jarring for university freshmen. A lot can change during your first few months of college. Independence, responsibility, and a new social landscape fosters wisdom, emotional strength, newfound skills, and adventurousness. And, the longer you stay, the more you grow. Yet, while student living can help you mature, it can also make life back home seem foreign. At first, you may find it difficult to readjust while visiting on holiday break. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ease this adjustment period and return to the comforts of home without losing your new self.
Have Realistic Expectations
Just as things have changed for you, they’ve also changed for your family. Some things may be different when you return home. For example:
- Sleeping arrangements (i.e. your room may be converted into an office or craft room)
- New decorations or layouts
- Different behaviour from your siblings or parents
- New family rules or routines
To transition back into home life as seamlessly as possible, anticipate possible changes in advance. Yet, also keep in mind that certain things probably won’t have changed. For example, your parents may still have house rules, such as:
- Asking you to be home at a certain time (curfew)
- Limiting how many friends you can invite over at once
- Expecting you to do chores or help with holiday preparations
Flexibility can make your break as relaxing as possible, especially when they flow in both directions. Ask your parents for understanding of your newfound lifestyle and independence, and try to be calm and mature when addressing any grievances you have with their expectations. A mature approach can display growth and dedication to a fun, peaceful holiday visit. And remember, even if your freedom is restricted, it’s only temporary. Soon, you can return to the best student apartments Waterloo has to offer and resume your normal routine.
Plan Your Answers
No matter how far along you are in your college education, parents, family, and friends will always have questions about how it’s going and how you’re doing. This form of questioning can be excessive, and sometimes a bit too personal. Yet, consider that your family and friends just want to make sure you’re happy, safe, and successful. Answering these questions can put their minds at ease.
You can prepare for a flood of questions by practicing your answers. Create standard answers for common questions, no matter how vague those questions may be. To ward off additional questions, make your answers about classes and college life as detailed as possible. Try to be open and honest, but don’t feel compelled to discuss any aspects of your private life you’re unwilling to share.
Show your parents how independent and responsible you’ve become by taking initiative around the home. This demonstrates your maturity and the positive impact of college life. It may also prompt your parents to view you as an adult and be more willing to compromise in certain areas. For example, they may adjust or remove the curfew or grant you more freedom in general. Taking initiative and showing respect often grants respect in return. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Help cook meals
- Do chores you notice need to be done
- Ask how you can help
- Do your own laundry
- Help take care of younger siblings or family pets
Reconnect with Family and Friends
Emotional distance is common and often inevitable when you’re away from your family and friends for months. Thus, it’s important to reconnect during holiday breaks. Reconnection with loved ones reestablishes bonds, which can make it easier to settle in after being away so long. It can also help you feel comfortable in your home environment and reestablish your place in the family.
To reclaim your place, spend time with your parents and siblings by talking with them, sharing meals, and participating in activities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their lives and tell them about yours. Engage in as many individual conversations as you can. Having family game night is also a fun way to reconnect with and bond with the family. Just don’t forget to make time for old friends, and stay in touch with friends from college as well to feel connected to both places.