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How to Go Home Without Going Crazy

June 04, 2008

Final exams ended today and the fall semester of 2007 at Hofstra University is officially finished. We get five-and-a-half weeks off between the fall and spring semesters, basically half of December and all of January (unless you decide to take a winter class).

FIVE-AND-A-HALF WEEKS. To me, it’s no longer a concern. As an RA, I have to come back early anyway, since our residence halls never officially close, and residents can stay here during the break. I would go crazy at home for five-and-a-half weeks. I did it my freshman year, and it was the longest month and a half of my life!

Recently, I was chatting with some freshmen to hear their thoughts on wrapping up their first semester. One of them is from Massachusetts and is already loathing his return home for the break. Another is from Connecticut and is looking forward to getting away from college life for awhile. And one from New Jersey has mixed feelings, and says that he’ll probably come back early.

The trudge back home can be an awkward experience. Everyone is returning to his or her home base, so while you’ll miss your friends from college, you’ll have a chance to reunite with friends from high school.

Not to mention dealing with parents again! Take a moment to think about how sweet the college life is. It’s like sleep-away camp for grown ups. You make some amazing connections with people that are stronger than any other connections you’ve made so far — all because you live with these people 24/7. There are no curfews, there’s no one to tell you to turn down your music (except maybe an RA), and no one is telling you that pizza and ice cream three times a week is not a suitable dinner. You are used to your own routine and way of doing things. You like sleeping in on the weekends and wearing your jeans ten times before washing them because the laundry machines are always being used.

When it comes to catching up with friends from home, take advantage of it. Chances are, they will have similar experiences and you will be able to relate. Sure, you’ve been away from each other for four months, but true friendships last. Bonds cannot be broken easily among good friends.

But if you’re feeling like the glue isn’t sticking and you have nothing to worry about, try not to sweat it. I was preoccupied with the notion of losing touch with my high school friends for years. It hurt so badly, but with time, I realized that the friends I made in high school were my “primaries” in life. I lost touch with many of them, but I know that if I were to see them, it would feel like old times again. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having these thoughts — chances are, your worries will turn out to be unfounded.

Dealing with your parents again will be tough. Your siblings probably missed you a ton, and your parents have too. Don’t snap at them too easily! Just as you’ve adjusted your life from living at college, they’ve had to adjust too. Take it into consideration and try to reason with them when it comes to your curfew or how late you’re staying up at night. Tell them you’ve been keeping these habits for four months, and it may take you a bit to get back to a non-college student’s way of living.

I’m returning home to New Jersey for only 11 days. But for those of you who are staying home for your winter breaks entirely, have a great one and best of luck dealing with the shift in lifestyle!


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