Surviving Summer at Home from College
By Susan Fishman, NCC/CRC, Be Well With Hillel Counselor
If you’ve just returned home for the summer and you’re already wondering how you’re going to make it through, you’re not alone. It can be hard to go back to living with a parent, or parents, when you’ve been adulting for some time. You’ve changed. Maybe you have a new diet, a new hair color, a new identity. Maybe your parents have changed. Maybe they haven’t. Even if it’s not your first summer back home, the family dynamics have shifted, and it can take a little time for everyone to figure out how to occupy the same space and relate to one another again. But it doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of independence while you’re home.
Set Clear Expectations
It’s possible your parents are just as anxious as you are about how your return home will impact their current lifestyle. Ask your parents what their expectations are when it comes to things like household chores, attendance at family meals, work spaces, sleep schedules, sleep partners (would your parents be open to this?). Be respectful of their needs and wishes, and be honest, clear and calm when you communicate your own.
Show Them Your Adult Self
When you find yourself back in the spaces that defined your childhood or teenage years, it can be easy to slip back into old patterns, for both you and your parents. You’re an adult now, yes, but in your parents’ house, their rules, well, rule. If they insist on your old curfew, for example, talk to them about the new, responsible you that’s been getting along all this time on your own. Better yet, show them you’re not the same kid from high school … the one that needs to be reminded to pick up her clothes or put his dishes in the dishwasher.
Throw Them a Bone
When you’re used to staying out till 3 a.m. and sleeping in till 1 p.m., your parents’ unending curiosity about your whereabouts can be annoying at best. Try to keep in mind that their relentless questioning may be their way of connecting, not controlling. They are likely just relishing the chance to be in your orbit for this short space of time. You can negotiate a little time to share your life and experiences with them, while still keeping your private life private.
Remember It’s Temporary
It may feel like a bit of a regression when you first come home for the summer. But try to remember, it won’t be long before you’re back at school, with a return to the freedoms you’ve missed (and the laundry you haven’t). For now, cut your folks some slack and chances are, they’ll be willing to do the same.
Need to Talk?
Feeling stressed, anxious, distracted, sad? We can help. Hillels of Georgia, in partnership with JF&CS, and thanks to a generous grant by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, is providing private, confidential counseling for college students - at no cost to you! No issue is too big, or too small. So contact us at Be Well with Hillel, and we can talk.