As the semester ends, columnist reminds students that home isn’t always so sweet.
Congratulations, you’ve made it through another, or your first, semester of college and now all that’s left to do is take those finals you probably won’t really study for.
After a semester of papers, presentations, painful group projects and maintaining that thing you call a social life, it’s almost finished. Before we know it, winter break will be here and our sanity will slowly return.
While some of my friends can’t wait to go back to their respective hometowns, a good number of them are really dreading it.
It’s a complete shock every time you have to go back home after being wrapped up in the world of college, so I’ve come up with a few ways to make the temporary transition easier:
Make Plans Early
Going back home is the perfect time to reconnect with your old friends from high school. You can catch up on what college has been like for each of you, retell those inside jokes that aren’t really that funny and gossip about the other people from your hometown.
The question, “Like, did you know that cheerleader who worked at Chili’s is pregnant now?” will probably be asked a lot this break.
Don’t assume that because you’ve been gone a whole semester everyone is bringing out their welcome mat for you.
Unfortunately, that welcome back parade you’re envisioning for yourself just isn’t going to happen. Yeah, you’ve been gone an entire semester but everyone’s moved on with their lives since you left.
Since the world doesn’t have a waiting list of people wanting to hang out with you, take the initiative and start making plans now. It will definitely save the headache of trying to track everyone down once you’re home and work around their schedule.
Also, please, please, please don’t be “that guy” and revisit your old high school almost every chance you get. It’s weird and no one there really remembers you, anyway.
Occupy Free Time
No class for a month means sleep for month. If you’re like me and spend sleepless nights at the TECH Center, this break will be quality time for you and your bed. To be completely honest, after my last final this semester I plan on running home putting on my pajamas, going under my covers and never looking back.
If you’re a normal, functioning human being who manages to get their work done on time and sleep a healthy amount during the semester, unlike me, then I probably hate you.
Free time is about more than just sleep–it’s time to do things for yourself that you may not have been able to do during the semester.
Give yourself a project to do during break, it will help you stay sane. During my last winter and summer breaks I decided not to have any projects for myself to work on. My plan was to catch on sleep and catch up with old friends and nothing more.
What ended up happening was I caught up with sleep and caught up with old reruns of Friends.
I ended up in a dark place of staying in bed all day, eating delicious junk food and watching countless hours of TV.
Don’t get me wrong, I love TV. But at some point when watching the seventh hour of the “America’s Next Top Model” cycle four marathon, one has to look at their life and wonder how they got in this position.
If you’re not going to get a job, then find something else to do to keep your mind active. Volunteer, get a new hobby, read one of those expensive textbooks you never ended up actually using this semester. Hell, go onto our website and look up The Temple News’ craft column, “HandMeg,” and learn how to make some crafts. I’m sure your friends will love the friendship bracelets you made them.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste and being on break is no excuse to do so. Keeping yourself busy and alert will make returning back to Main Campus in January so much easier.
Timing is Key
After a tough semester away, it’s pretty reasonable for you to have made a few life changing choices along the way.
Maybe you’ve decided to dye your hair or change your major, there’s also the possibility you’ve been through heavier things and may have made bigger changes like realizing you’re an atheist or coming out of the closet.
Timing is very important during breaks because you’re essentially stuck at home for an extended period of time.
To avoid an even more awkward time at home, think about when you should tell them any big news. Obviously the happier news should come first, but the heavier stuff should come later.
It’s always been a rule of mine to hold off on any big announcements that might be upsetting until after the holidays. It will make the festivities a lot more bearable for all parties involved.
When I told my very religious mother I wasn’t going to church anymore, she just about had a heart attack. Luckily there wasn’t any big holiday coming up so we were able to talk about it without having that looming over us. I also told her at the tail end of my break so that we’d have less time to mull it over.
You’ve been gone a whole semester and your parents probably really miss you. Don’t take away from their excitement by dumping news on them. Let them enjoy seeing you before you announce you’re going to drop out of school and move into a hipster commune.
These rules aren’t law but I’ve found them to be helpful during my visits back home. Winter break has potential if you take the time to make it great. I’m taking a different approach and only going home for a week. I guess that could be tip No. 4.
Luis Fernando Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.