You don’t always have to leave the country to feel culture shock; sometimes all you have to do is go back home. Readjusting to life at home after living on your own at college can be quite the transition. In fact, it can almost make you feel like you’ve been leading a double life. Activities, daily routines, friends, and curfews have suddenly changed. That being said, it’s understandable if you feel a little off balance when returning to your own hometown. There are ways though, to help lessen this shock to your system.
1. Stay organized.
It’s easy to let boxes from school gather dust in your bedroom at home, but it’s best to unpack sooner rather than later. Set aside a day or two to rip off all the packing tape and get things in order. Go through the boxes, take out what you’ll need during the summer, and store the rest in a closet or basement. Your daily life will be easier when your belongings are put away, and you’ll probably feel more comfortable in your bedroom when there aren’t boxes taking up all the floor space. It’s also a good idea to label the boxes that you’re storing away. You’ll be in better shape to move back to school in the fall if you take a few moments to be organized at the start of the summer.
2. Be productive.
Living back at home can be boring in comparison to living the college lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use the time away from school to be productive and earn money by working a summer job. Lifeguarding, working at day camps, and scooping ice cream are perfect seasonal gigs for college students who are home for summer break. It will be nice to have spending money for summer activities, but try your best to set aside some savings too. When you’re back at school, you’ll be happy to have some extra cash in your pocket for weekend outings and daily coffee runs.
3. Establish ground rules with parents.
Communication is very important in ensuring that you get along with your parents for the summer. You’re used to the freedom you had at college, but try to remember that your parents are used to parenting you at home. If you feel that you’re not getting a reasonable amount of independence or trust from your parents, talk with them and explain things from your perspective. You’ve been away for a decent amount of time, so your family might not realize that you’ve grown up a little bit in the process. Negotiate a curfew time early on to avoid any miscommunications or arguments later in the summer.
4. Contribute around the house.
You’re no longer in your dorm—you’re in your family’s shared living space. Remind yourself of this fact whenever possible! If you were lax with cleaning back at your dorm, realize that you’ll probably have to step up your tidying skills now that you’re home. Pick up after yourself and contribute to the home by assisting with household chores. Just by doing that, a lot of unnecessary conflict can be avoided.
5. Have fun!
You survived finals, and now you deserve to have fun! Read books that you don’t have to worry about being quizzed on, watch movies, and go to concerts. Take advantage of the comforts of home that you might not have had at your college campus. Reconnect with old friends who you missed while you were away, and spend time with your family. Relish home-cooked meals and your stocked refrigerator. Enjoy your summer, and soon enough you’ll be starting another year at college!