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Leaving home for college is quite the adjustment for you. You are excited about your new chapter.  You are exploring your new environment.  You are embarking on new adventures.  You are finding your voice.  You are getting involved.  You are adjusting to your new life.  You may even be a little homesick.  It might come as a surprised to you, but you are not the only one that is adjusting to the new chapter in your life.  Everyone at home has been affected by your departure to college. 

Your parents need time to adjust to you not being home every night, like you have been for the last 18+ years.  Your parents are not there to pick you up every time you fall. Your parents are not there to witness your latest triumphs.  Your parents miss you and are struggling with you not being home.

Similarly, your younger siblings are also adjusting.  Your friends back home are adjusting.  Your significant other is adjusting.  You part time job is adjusting.  The bottom line is, everyone is adjusting to you starting this new chapter in your life.  So, take some time to reconnect and maintain the connections back home.  Call your parents (or return their calls), let them know everything is okay.  Tell your parents about your latest triumphs, adventures, and what the resident down the hall said.  Your parents will appreciate you taking the time to think of them, they will appreciate your efforts to maintain/strengthen the relationship, and may have an easier time accepting your new position in life.  A phone call will go a long way and make a big impact. Carve out some time on Sunday to catch up and share your new world with your old world. 

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Parenting comes with a certain level of expected hovering. How do you determine how much is too much?  Legally at the age of 18 you are an adult, but in the eyes of your parents you are still their little child that needs them to help solve problems and care from them.  This notion will not just cease, because you go off to college. Parents will have a certain level of involvement in your college career.  They want to ensure you are on track, completing the things you need to do, and ultimately are successful.  Getting to their definition of success may involve more of them than you would like, but you will have to learn how to balance showing your responsibility and respect for all your parents do with gratitude for all they have (and will) done. Below are some do’s and don’t’s for monitoring your parents’ involvement in your college life.

1.      Do let them know how you are doing in class.  Share hardships and successes; don’t let grades be a surprise.  If you are keeping them in the loop along the way, they will understand and celebrate your achievements.

2.      Do share when you face adversity; share it with your parents.  Use them as a sounding board, but don’t let them handle the situation.

3.      Do let your parent know when you have done ALL that you can to resolve a situation.  Don’t let them believe you have done ALL you can do when you have not.

4.      Do tell them the whole truth. Don’t send them to resolve an issue with only half truths.

5.      Do let your parents know you appreciate their support.  Don’t assume they know you care.

6.      Do find new ways of thinking and viewpoints on life.  Don’t let their antiquated ways of thinking blur your path.

7.      Do communicate regularly with your parents. Don’t disappear by not returning calls, changing plans without giving them an update, or not coming home as scheduled.

Having an engaged parent can be very helpful as you navigate through college.  However, having an overly engaged parent hoovering over issues, calling the staff for every minor issue, escalating issues out of the hierarchy order, and showing up to the university frequently.  You want to take on a certain level of responsibility for your success in school, you do not want your parents to resolve issues or guide you through college.  Part of college is leaving not being the same person as when you started.  So take some of the responsibility off of your parents and show your ability to resolve issues and succeed.

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:)

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. Zerorez can also help you out in availing cleaning and home improvement services. 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