Note from Robin: Lexie wrote this post this past summer. As I consider how life continues to change for all of us and feels messy sometimes(!) (and she and I talk about this), I came across this post today and appreciated her reflections on some of the changes experienced with her first year of college and thought it’d be interesting to share.
Once you are in college, your idea of home may change drastically. All of a sudden, you have two locations that you consider home, one where you live for most of the year, but then there’s your home where your family lives and where you grew up. You yourself are not the only one affected during this shift though. That family back home adjusts to living without you there. Some holidays might go by without your presence, day trips pass, memories are made without you, and family pictures are taken missing you. Instead of feeding the typical five people in the family, food is bought for four. It takes adjustments on all ends.
What’s probably an even bigger adjustment though is the return: when you come back and your family must make accommodations for more once again. As summer rolls around and you come back for a few months to what was once your permanent home, your family has to shift their lifestyle for a guest who expects food, a bed, and to join in on family activities. This guest doesn’t need a house tour nor be told how to turn on the shower. They feel comfortable raiding the kitchen anytime and wearing a towel around. That being said, the family has to buy more food again, plan activities to include one more person, and keep track of that extra person’s whereabouts among everyone else in the family.
I’m sure your family is perfectly happy to make these adjustments but things will likely not be the same as they once were. You will expect more freedom and less restrictions after being allowed to roam free for a year. Maybe your parents did your laundry before but they might expect you to take care of it yourself now since you’ve been doing so off at college. You’ve gotten used to living how you’d like to live and then you revert back to living under someone else’s rules once again. Living back home for the summer is a balance of taking on more responsibility and regressing back to someone taking care of you. If this balance is done right, a harmony can exist despite these changes, and I think the key to this is communication of new expectations to match a new situation.