You’ve finished your last class on Friday, packed up your clothes and laundry, and now you are ready to be driven home to spend your first holiday break away from college. If you’re like most students, you’ve been dreaming of relaxing in your house, eating home-cooked meals, and having zero responsibilities for a whole week. It’s exciting to leave campus for break, but chances are things at home have changed since you left for college. Adjusting can sometimes be difficult, so here are three pieces of advice that will help you adapt to the new situation.
1. Be Open to Change in Your Old Friendships
My closest friends from high school and I chose to attend different colleges, so we made an effort to see each other during our first holiday break. It was great to catch up with them, but I could tell that we had all changed. We discovered new interests and left behind certain hobbies. College was shaping us. If you see your friends during break and you don’t feel the way you used to, don’t worry. It’s normal for high school friendships to drift apart; college is a place in life that heavily defines you as a person. Maybe you’ll realize that your old friendships were rooted in something in which you no longer have interest and that your college friends are truer and more genuine. Or perhaps being away for a while will demonstrate just how authentic your old friendships are! It could go either way, but know that change is okay.
Levi Guzman, Unsplash
2. Make Time to Connect With Family Members
Being at home for a week will most likely be a stark difference to what you have gotten used to at college. Family members will be asking you how your university experience has been so far, what classes you’re taking, what major you’re in—and they will never stop asking. Prepare those responses and try not to lose patience; your loved ones are curious and want to know about this exciting time in your life.
Secondly, it may be difficult to have your family around when you’ve grown accustomed to living independently. Don’t spend the week cooped up in your room, though. Get out and engage within the home environment. Go shopping with your parents, play games with your siblings, drive around your home town. Enjoy the short time away from campus. Holiday breaks are some of the only times you might be able to see your loved ones, so cherish each moment with them.
3. Find a Balance Between Work and Play
Chances are you will have assignments and projects due when you come back from break, so using your free time to be productive on those would be a wise decision. For me, it’s hard to concentrate on schoolwork when I am in my home environment; I just want to sit and relax. This, however, can lead to boredom, especially when you’re used to a routine of classes, clubs, and social events. I didn’t know what to do with myself during my first holiday break. I constantly felt like I had places to be and things to do, and while I did have assignments, I couldn’t bring myself to work on them. Schedule time in your break to be academically productive, but also take time to do the fun and relaxing things you would usually do at home.
Jacalyn Beales, Unsplash
All in all, the first holiday break back home is definitely an adjustment. You will see how much you have changed and how different your lifestyle has become. You may even realize that your concept of "home" has switched. Whatever happens, enjoy your first extended break and busy student hiatus.
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