Managing your emotions when going home is an unexpected obstacle as a first-year student. There are so many things to look forward to: your own bed, home cooked meals and the spirit of the holiday season for winter break. Something I did not plan for was my emotion, the changing relationships of friends from home and the separation from ‘freedom’ that I so loved while being on campus. This is not to say that your experience will be exactly like mine; however, you can use it as a possible rendition of what you may feel when you travel to ‘home sweet home.’
The first time I came home for an extended period of time was winter break. I remember feeling really confused about having almost a whole month off from school, not being surrounded by all the wonderful new friends I’d made and my parents suddenly asking me to do chores again or set curfews. It took me a moment to realize that there had been a change in my lifestyle and that needed to be recognized. The break is only temporary and I could have focused more on being around my family so often again, finally eating my mom’s cooking and being in the comfort of my own home. Once that happened, curling up on the couch to watch a movie was the best feeling. I realized I hadn’t had it in a while and it felt really good.
A part of me also felt a sense of surprise. They say ‘expect the unexpected’ and in this moment that was definitely true. I almost felt like I was on vacation, living out of suitcase during those weeks of break because I technically no longer lived at home. Home was a slightly different feeling. If you have younger siblings, you sort of feel out of the loop with their lives because you’ve been ‘away.’ Even my younger sisters hadn’t grasped that ‘sissy’s going to college’ meant sissy’s moving out and becoming (trying to be) an adult. I noticed my relationships with some close friends from home were shifting. As I had grown through my first semester at college, so had they. I also realized we were not as close as I had hoped to still be. It was nice to see everyone again and also to acknowledge that we all are on different paths now, and that’s okay. The initial emotion was slightly shocking however it became a comfortable reality.
Overall, your emotions when going home can vary and shift often. I think it’s important to ultimately realize that things change and your lifestyle now is also really different. Take the break as a time to relax or mentally prepare for the shift back to school for second semester as well. Continue to be aware that change is inevitable and that’s okay.