Smooth Your Transition: Heading Home from College

Make your transition from college life to home for the holidays as smooth as possible with these helpful hints.

McKenzie Nevins

November 13, 2015

Smooth Your Transition: Heading Home from College

With finals on the horizon and mountains of studying still in the way, winter break shines like a beacon of hope against the dreary landscape. It’s been many weeks since that long-ago August day when you first arrived on campus.

No matter how much you’ve enjoyed your semester thus far, it’s very possible that you’re beginning to pine for the old and familiar – in a word, home.

The transition isn’t always easy, however. Over the past few months you’ve been experiencing a kind of independence you didn’t know existed before high school graduation. That independence changed you. Fitting back into your old world as a new person is tougher than you might think – but it doesn’t have to be painful.

Plan your break together.

It’s important that you talk your family – probably more than once – before arriving home to discuss plans and expectations. It’s very likely that they already have events scheduled for the holiday season.

There may be some things you’re hoping to do, as well, but if you don’t make these expectations clear ahead of time, you’ll end up frustrated when there isn’t time to fit everything in. Talking will also give you an idea of what your family is expecting.

Try to be patient and understanding.

Even though your parents want what’s best for you, it can be hard for them to watch you transform from the child they knew into a competent adult. Be patient and don’t respond in anger if family members seem put-off by the changes in you at first.

Everyone deals with transition in different ways. Be as understanding and supportive of them now as they’ve been for you your entire life.

Communication is key.

Talk with your family about changes you’ve noticed in yourself and new ideas you’re discovering. No doubt college has opened you up to concepts, views, and subjects you never considered before. Share these with your parents. I think you’ll find they’re excited to learn about what you’ve been experiencing.

Respectfully discuss expectations.

Don’t forget to discuss curfews and other house rules. While you’ve discovered a new kind of independence away from home, you still have the responsibility to respect the people who raised you and gave you the opportunity to go to college in the first place.

If you don’t agree with some of the rules, discuss the issues calmly and come to a compromise. Both you and your parents will probably need to give a bit in some of these areas.

Don’t be scared to return home after your first semester away. Many students are tempted to skip out on this break, but remember that the people at home care about you very much.

Share your experiences.

They want to learn about what you’ve been up to. They’re anxious to adjust to this new, independent version of you. Give them that opportunity if you can.

Your relationships with your family and friends will be different from now on, but different doesn’t necessarily mean worse. There are some things that will never change, and those are most often the important things.

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