Aya Burton ‘22
With only a month left of classes, most of us, especially those of us who have never done so before, are starting to think about planning our travels back home. The end of the school year can feel bittersweet as we leave our friends and the freedoms of the 5Cs to return to our parents’ houses. The term “curfew” might sound foreign and “chores” a concept from a distant past. The summer home after freshman year can be an especially tough one to navigate, according to upperclassmen.
Readjusting to your childhood home, along with the rules and requests of parents, can be challenging. For so long, we’ve planned and lived out our days just as we please–waking up at ten, hitting up the pool with friends, staying out at The Hub until night becomes morning. However, if you focus on the positives of returning home and are conscientious of those you live with just as you would be with your room or suitemates, the transition can be a far more pleasant one. Start your summer right with these quick tips and tricks.
Communication is Key
Having been on your own for so long, it can be tough remembering to update parents on your whereabouts. Since you’re living under their roof and are their responsibility, it’s only fair you let them know if you’re going to spend a night out and an estimate of when you’ll be back home. To avoid having a concerned parent calling and looking for you all night, just shoot them a text to keep them up to date. This will ease the stress for both parties.
Do Your Part
Go above and beyond just putting your plate away after a meal and actually do the dishes or make dinner–without your parents having to ask you. Helping out around the house is not only a sign of respect but also shows your parents that you’re mature and able to take care of things beyond yourself. It’s the little things, like unpacking your belongings right when you return and keeping your room tidy, that will make your parents treat you more like an adult than a child. Instead of getting frustrated with your parents for nagging you to wash the car or mow the lawn, just do it so you can move on to the things you’d rather be doing.
Keep in mind that you’re not at school anymore and behavior that might’ve been appropriate in a college dorm isn’t always okay in your childhood home. For instance, blasting music off your speakers past 10 p.m. likely won’t be appreciated, nor will leaving behind a trail of your belongings everywhere you go. On the other hand, maybe your parents are fine with you returning home past midnight, as long as you let yourself in with a key and don’t wake the whole house up. Talk with your parents about their expectations and be mindful of those you live with.
Reuniting with family can be stressful and difficult. You might find yourself faced with questions you don’t want to be asked or surrounded by arguments you don’t want to be a part of. You can’t always change those around you, but it’s important to take care of yourself. Plan ahead by thinking about what kinds of questions and conflicts typically arise and how you could respond to (or avoid) them. Think of some coping mechanisms that work well for you and use them if you need to. These could include taking a walk, going to the library or coffee shop for an afternoon, or texting a close friend. If the thought of returning home really stresses you out, consider finding a job where you can live on campus over the summer, like at Denison or the Admissions Office.
Fill Your Time
Sun tanning and sprawling out around the house all day might sound like your best version of summer, but in reality will get boring pretty quickly. Try and find a balance of work and play–even with a part-time job, internship, or volunteering, you can make time for friends and adventures. Working will help get you out of the house and give you some space from your parents so that you can actually enjoy the time you spend together instead of being irritated by one another. Make sure you also have opportunities to do the things you enjoy by making a bucket list for break. On it could be books you’ve been meaning to read, trails you would love to hike, a fitness class you want to try, or a recipe you’ve been dying to make.
Appreciate What You’ve Been Missing
Don’t forget about all those things you love and missed about home! Living at home certainly has its perks. Maybe it’s your plush queen-sized bed, your dog, your sibling, or the sunset from your front porch. Do the things you once missed doing, like taking a loop around your favorite park, getting that special latte at the local cafe, and going to the nearby theater. Spend time with your family and friends, find time for yourself, and make the most of your summer at home – before you know it, you’ll be heading back to school (or maybe even moving out!)