If the first year of university is a desert, then “home-cooked meals” and “free laundry” are the tantalizing mirages that encourage you to keep crawling through the sand.
As great as residence life is, some creature comforts of home can’t be replicated. Nothing is as satisfying as taking a shower without wearing flip flops after 8 months of communal bathing.
But if you’re heading back home for the summer, you might also be feeling nervous. What’s it going to be like living with your family again after a year on your own?
Going home doesn’t mean you have to “revert” back to your old self. There are many ways to make your first summer back home a time of relaxation and growth.
Staying connected to the new you
First of all, it’s pretty normal to feel out of place when you get home. Being back in your parents’ house can make it feel like you’re in high school again, or like all the ways you’ve grown and become more independent never happened.
Don’t let having to tell your parents when and where you’re going out knock you back into old habits or behaviours you’ve outgrown. Stay connected with the “you” from university by keeping in touch with your UBC friends and sticking to good habits you built. If you were going to the gym 3 times a week at UBC, go to the gym 3 times a week at home.
Find ways to incorporate your “university self” into life at home, even if that just means buying a favourite snack you discovered at school!
Finding common ground with your family
The days of time-outs and getting grounded might seem like eons ago to you, but chances are, they feel a lot more recent to your parents. If you want to maintain the independence you have in university, make sure you’re acting as mature as you feel. Help out with chores, maybe even cook a meal or 2—show your family how “grown-up” you are to establish trust.
At the end of the day, it’s your parents’ house and their rules. But you’re (technically) an adult now, too, and living with other adults requires communication and respect on everybody’s part. Keep the conversation going, and show your parents how much you’ve grown.
Reconnecting with old friends
Summer break is a great chance to reconnect with friends at home. Even if those weekly Facetime chats you planned fell by the wayside over the school year, you now have the opportunity to catch up on each others’ lives.
Chances are, you’ve changed—and so have your old friends. Sometimes you will have grown up in similar ways and you’ll fall back into your friendship easily. Or you might find you don’t have as much in common anymore.
There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s natural for people to grow apart. Remember that the people you click with over summer aren’t always the ones you expect.
You could find you have a lot in common now with someone who just used to be an acquaintance, so don’t limit yourself to just seeing your “closest” friends. Being home doesn’t mean you can’t keep expanding your network.
A distinct kind of boredom can set in when you’re back at home, away from your new normal. There’s nothing wrong with having a relaxing summer, but if cabin fever sets in easily for you, there’s a ton of ways to keep busy.
Finding a job out of first year can be tough, but getting work experience of any kind is valuable, especially if you’re not paying rent and can save up. If you’re not working, you could try picking up a new hobby, volunteering, or even getting a head start on your studies for next year.
Keeping busy can help you maintain that feeling of independence and help you keep growing and pushing yourself, even during the break.