I am sure you all know that feeling of staring at the screen with a blank mind, when you are just lost. You don’t know how to feel. Well, this to me represents most accurately the state of living on your own at university for so many months and then suddenly having to go back home, back to ‘real life’, as some people call it, for an entire summer.
This can be quite scary, I must say. Freshers to final-year students find that there’s a lot of uncertainty about having no plans for next year and not knowing where you’re going to be. It can be hard to deal with the fact that you are not going to see those amazing people you met and call best friends for a long time, perhaps not even when you come back in the fall.
The autonomy of buying your own food, making your own meals, sorting your own washing and, at least at some point, doing your own cleaning is empowering. It is also very much a personal thing. You relax your mum’s tight rules about not washing your jeans with the rest of your clothes; whether it’s tea towels or woollen jumpers, they all go in the same basket and get washed at 30 degrees. You stay up till you are ready to go to bed, rather than pretending to go to bed at an ‘acceptable’ time. You can take a nap in the middle of the day – which I’m hoping you do – without having your parents worrying about when you are going to study. You love spending a whole week in pyjamas or having a term in which your mission is to go out every single night to Sugar and not even read a book. You know that freedom of being at university? This is what I am talking about. But what happens when you have to just go home for three months during summer?
The prospect of moving home, although desirable in some key respects, can be a daunting one for those that feel they’ve got the hang of living independently. Having to see your parents every day? What is this? Coming back to rules and regulations about mealtimes and limitations you feel you have outgrown is odd. Yes, you may love having your washing done for you every week and listening to your mum let you know that ‘food is ready!’, but for how long? Two or three weeks (or a bit longer) maybe, but three months? Sooner or later you start getting bored, feeling discomfort with having that independence and responsibility taken away from you. And let’s not forget the huge shift in the social dynamics which going from independent to family living entails. You kind of have to socialise with your parents, and that can seem pretty depressing.
I know that this can be hard, especially for graduates. I mean, I am freaking out with the fact that my parents are coming for a whole week for graduation, let alone being with them 24/7 for the whole summer. Whatever your plans are, you are not alone. Everyone feels the same. And your parents are here to help you out with whatever you need. So try to make the best out of it. Show them how mature you are and let them know that you can deal with your own problems by now. Let them believe in you and live your life.