Home > Resources > Campus Life > College Lifestyle > College Students Returning Home for the Holidays

College Students Returning Home for the Holidays

Are you nervous about what to expect when you return home after an extended absence? The first year of school brings many tough adjustments along with the many rewards of independence. For the first time in his or her life, a student has the opportunity to create his or her own lifestyle. In college, there are no parents to oversee your actions: You set your own schedule, pick your own friends, and make or break your own rules. When you first leave the nest, the opportunity to exert your independence seems daunting. Once accustomed to playing by your own rules however, the thought of returning home can be just as intimidating.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Inner Conflict

Many college students, especially freshmen, are tempted not to return home for the holidays during their first semester. The changes that students undergo while away at school will have an effect on how they reconnect with their friends and family back home. The conflict over returning doesn't reflect how much you care about your family; it simply arises because the situation is unfamiliar and most students feel defensive of their newly-established lifestyle. In college, we forsake all boundaries - even in our intellectually stimulating and intensely academic conversations with fellow students. Returning to propriety is understandably jarring.

Resolving to Return

The longer you wait to visit the folks, the harder it will be. The truth is that they love you in spite of what college has done to you (shifted your political views, inflated your ego, changed your hair color, made you feel independent). The fact that they auctioned off your bedroom to a younger sibling is of no consequence. Really. If you are debating about whether to return, go home. In a few short years you'll appreciate why — there are only so many opportunities and your parents are likely paying for your indoctrination. Thankfulness goes a long way. Pick up a poinsettia and give your mom the greeting she's been waiting for. Appreciating your family indicates a level of maturity that you may not have had when you left, and this will set the tone for your visit.

What to Expect

When you return, you will notice changes in the family dynamic. While you were living on campus, you gained a level of independence that you probably weren't afforded while you lived at home. It may not seem like it, but your parents are aware of this. At some point during your visit, your independence will probably provoke you to rebel against a house rule that was established while you were in high school. When this happens, step back and assess the situation. Answer this question: Who's cooking Thanksgiving dinner? If the answer isn't you, hold off on your objections. Your parents won't adjust to all of the changes in your lifestyle overnight.

Tensions may be heightened with your parents, but interacting with your siblings should be a pleasant relief. Typically, when you return you will find that you get along much better with younger brothers and sisters. In their minds at least, you're an adult now and this has caused their admiration of you to increase and the frequency of petty arguments to diminish.

ADVERTISEMENT

Latest College & Financial Aid News

Will Taking a Semester Off Hurt My Scholarship Money?

August 5, 2022

by Ashley Eneriz

College is a big commitment and burnout is easy if you don’t pace yourself. That said, taking a semester off is a normal thing to do while pursuing your degree. Whether you need a quick break for personal reasons or exciting opportunities, like a once-in-a-lifetime trip or work experience, here’s what you need to know about your scholarship money before taking time off. [...]

FAFSA Myths You Need to Stop Falling For

July 26, 2022

by Ashley Eneriz

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid — more commonly known as FAFSA is the key to funding your college education. Not only can the FAFSA connect you to grants, scholarships, and work-study opportunities, but filling out the form is also the first step to applying for federal student loans. Even though filling out the FAFSA is simple and straightforward, several misconceptions still fly around it. Here are the top FAFSA myths you need to stop believing. [...]

5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Scholarship

June 28, 2022

by Ashley Eneriz

Everyone wants to win a full-ride scholarship and enter their freshman year without financial stress. However, the reality is that you have a greater chance of winning smaller scholarships to aid your degree goals. Get a head start on your scholarship game this summer, so that you can head into your senior year closer to funding your college goals. [...]