It is Christmas Eve and the holidays are among us.  You have finished your first semester and your family is excited to have you home and hear all about it. Don’t be surprised when the family plays 20 questions with you at the dinner table.  The family will be excited to hear about your classes, what you are learning, and of course who you are dating.  Save the frustration and the embarrassing line of questions.  Prepare for potential questions and have responses ready for the family.  They do not mean to pry they are excited to see how you and how you have grown in the last 4 months.

Going home can also create a certain level of expectations. Be sure to communicate your expectations with family. If you plan to divide your time between family, work and friends be sure to communicate that information, as they may have plans for you.  Friends will want to interact with you, family will want their time with you, your partner will want to spend time together, and then there are the things that YOU want to do.

Be sure to communicate your plans to avoid disappointment.  Let your family know your plans; when you plan to come home, if you plan to sleep at home each night, nights you plan on going out with friends, how much you need to rest or catch up on reading. Whatever your plans are be sure to communicate them and be flexible if there are last minute changes.

Going home is a great time, but can also cause stress and frustration.  The key to a happy and stress-free Winter Break is communication.  Everyone will want to see you and know about your first year, oblige them and share the details of your experience.  Make time for everyone and do not allow anyone (or thing, avoid overusing your phone, tablet, or laptop) to monopolize your time.  Utilize this time to catch up, but also enjoy the break and do things that will help you enjoy your break.

Congrats you made it through the first semester of college and it is time to go home.  If you went home during Thanksgiving, your transition at Winter Break may come easy.  If you did not go home for Thanksgiving, there will be a few things for you to consider.

For the last few months you have been encouraged to think for yourself, try new things, and challenge the way you think. Your family may not be ready for your new ideas, thoughts, and philosophies.  Be sensitive to the fact that change may not be easily or readily accepted by your family.  You may have to ease them into the newer version of you.  This notion does not only apply to your thoughts, but also your hair, body art, and style of dress.

When you arrive home, keep in mind your family remembers who you were when you left in August/September.  It may take some time or a little coaxing for them to adjust to the new you.  Here are some things that you should consider when going home.  Try to consider ways you can alleviate tension with your family during your stay at home.

  • Your Parents House Has Rules:  at school you have rules too, but for the most part you do what you want to do.  If you do not want to clean, you don’t clean.  If you do not want to come home, you don’t come home.  If you do not want to go to class, you don’t go to class. When you go home you have to change your new mindset and respect what your parent’s request. Consider these areas:
    • Curfew- Do you have a curfew? Does it matter what time you come home? Does it matter if you come home?
    • Chores- How will you be expected to contribute to the house?
    • Expectations- How will your parents view your time at home? As a vacation, as more help, as bonding time, etc.  Finding out what your parents expect will reduce conflict and feelings being hurt.
    • Sleep- You may be comfortable with sleepign to noon, but your parents may thing anything past 10a is too late. A small discussion can avoid tense moments and being awaken aburptly.
    • Your Friends Missed you too: you coming home is exciting for your friends too.  They want to catch up with you hear crazy stories from the semester.  Sometimes you will have new friends mingle with old friends.  Sometimes the new you will not be accepted by the old circle of friends. Be prepared for this and ready to accept that sometimes people grow apart. Make sure you do not let your friends monopolize all of your time at home.
    • Siblings need love too: Do not forget about your siblings (and pets).  You will want to send time with them as well.  They will want to know how life at college has been and discover what waits for them in the future.  Talk to them about coming to visit and the fun activities you will have planned.
    • Ditching Bad Habits:  Be sure to leave your bad habits at school.  As we mentioned, you going home a new person may not be received with open arms especially if you have picked up new habits.  Your family may not be excited if you started smoking, if you use [more] foul language, or if are more apathetic.  Prepare yourself and family by letting them know you have changed and the ways you have changed.  See if those changes will be accepted at home or if they should be left at school.

Going home after semester one can be quite stressful, but it can also be fun.  Using the above information as a guide can help your short time at home go smoothly.  Just think in a few weeks you will be back at school.  Enjoy your Winter Break:)

Yes; it is hard to believe it is one week until Thanksgiving.  For some students this is the first time you will return home since leaving in August/September. Some of may have new body art, new vocabulary, or even a new outlook on life.  Your family will remember who you were when you left and you have to be prepared that they may not be prepared for the new version of you.  Your parents may have a hard time adjusting to your new found freedom, your difference of opinions, or even your desire to go out and catch up with your high school friends.  Your friends may not understand why your relationship has changed, your desire to try different things, or new habits you may have developed.  The same thing applies to your siblings and significant others.

Readjusting to home life can be a sensitive subject. Everyone will have their own agenda.  You will want to relax, see old friends, and enjoy your break from school.  Your parents and siblings will want to make up for the time you have been gone. Your friends will want to catch up and swap stories from the last few months.  Be aware of the expectations that may be placed on you and attempt to meet all of the demands. Also communicate your expectations for your time home.  Letting your family know that you have plans will help reduce or eliminate frustration when expectations are not met.

Going home will be a much needed break, but make sure you understand what your family wants to reconnect with you and hear about your experiences as a college student.  Be prepared to share stories, know why you feel the way you feel, and be ready to share your knowledge. Going home will be fun and a much needed break.

Finally the day has come…the end of the first semester! Congrats you made it through the first of many semesters.  Now what… well now it is time to go home.  The only problem is you are not the same person you were when your parents dropped you off at the beginning of the semester.  For the last few months you have been encouraged to think for yourself, try new things, and challenge the way you think. Arriving home 3 months or so later these ideals may not be equally embraced. Families are not expecting to meet a new version of you. A smarter you yes, but not a new you.

When you go home, be mindful that your family will only remember how you use to be. It may take some time for them to adjust to the new you.  Here are some things that you should consider when going home.  Try to consider ways you can alleviate your stay at home for a few weeks.

  • Your Parents House Has Rules:  at school you have rules too, but for the most part you do what you want to do.  If you do not want to clean, you don’t clean.  If you do not want to come home, you don’t come home.  If you do not want to go to class, you don’t go to class. When you go home you have to change your new mindset and respect what your parent’s request. Consider these areas:
    • Curfew- Do you have a curfew? Does it matter what time you come home? Does it matter if you come home?
    • Chores- How will you be expected to contribute to the house?
    • Expectations- How will your parents view your time at home? As a vacation, as more help, as bonding time, etc.  Finding out what your parents expect will reduce conflict and feelings being hurt.
  • Your Friends Missed you too: you coming home is exciting for your friends too.  They want to catch up with you hear crazy stories from the semester.  Sometimes you will have new friends mingle with old friends.  Sometimes the new you will not be accepted by the old circle of friends. Be prepared for this and ready to accept that sometimes people just grow apart. Make sure you do not let your friends monopolize all of your time at home.
  • Siblings need love too: Do not forget about your siblings (and pets).  You will want to send time with them as well.  They will want to know how life at college has been and discover what waits for them in the future.  Talk to them about coming to visit and the fun activities you will have planned.
  • Ditching Bad Habits:  Be sure to leave your bad habits at school.  As we mentioned, you going home a new person may not be received with open arms especially if you have picked up new habits.  Your family may not be excited if you started smoking, if you use [more] foul language, or if are more apathetic.  Prepare yourself and family by letting them know you have changed and the ways you have changed.  See if those changes will be accepted at home or if they should be left at school.

Going home after semester one can be quite stressful, but it can also be fun.  Using the above information as a guide can help your short time at home go smoothly.  Just think in a few weeks you will be back at school.  Enjoy your Winter BreakJ

Thanksgiving is next week…can you believe it?

 Going home can be fun and relaxing, but it can also be stressful.  Often times you can be pulled in many directions that going home can result in not being as enjoyable as you’d hoped.  Mom and Dad want to spend time with you and see what you have been learning over the past two months, younger siblings want to spend time with their big bro/sis, friends from back home would like to hang out, significant others want time, and other family members would love to see how you have grown.   In addition to these expectations there are also be your priorities; working over the thanksgiving break, looking for a winter break job, or just time to enjoy sleeping in.  Take the next few days to plot out your course home.

  • Predetermine how you would like to spend YOUR days at home.  If you go home with a schedule and checklist of all of the things you would like to accomplish you will not be overwhelmed when your attention is pulled in varying directions.
  • Be flexible to changes in your schedule. You may not be able to accomplish everything you hoped you would be able to. 
  • Be sensitive to everyone’s desire to be with you.  As excited as you are to go home, home is just as excited (if not more) to see you. 
  • Be honest! Do not brush people off or make promises you do not intend to keep.  If you cannot commit to something let them know and plan something for winter break.
  • Have fun! Going home should be enjoyable and become fewer and far between as you progress through college.  Enjoy the time while you have it.