For students who live on campus, it’s easy to forget there’s a home waiting for you once the semester ends. Being at school is a mix of “I believe I can fly,” and “Help me, hold me, I’m dying over here.”
You’re in a constant state of learning new things, all the while trying to keep the rest of your life together. Whether you’re applying for internships, starting a new club on campus or studying for tests you forgot you had, keeping your head above water is definitely a challenge.
You get used to it though, and the chaos becomes your life. Months go by; you feel comfortable and have established routines. But suddenly school’s over, and when the “I’m coming home” thoughts hit, responsibilities shift. You come back to a life you left behind for an extended period of time, only to find you’ve forgotten a lot about it.
Here are some things you probably forgot about while at school, simply because you didn’t have to think about any of them.
Hanging out with friends is hard work.
Sometimes classes feel like educational hang out sessions. Studying in groups works both the academic and social aspects of your life. Your friends live right down the hall, or at least in the same building. The slumber-party vibe college has aids in reducing stress.
But coming home, it’s harder to hang out with friends. Everybody is working because nobody saved any money (although everyone thought they would). Families go on vacation, and you have to catch your friends before they disappear among Instagram pictures of oceans you’ve never seen. My best friend went to Hawaii for almost a month last summer, and I barely got to see her. The people I saw everyday now live halfway across the country, no longer within easy access either.
I can’t walk into their rooms after midnight and ask them ridiculous questions, or share my loneliness. Or maybe you question if you even deserve any free time at all. “Is there something else I should be doing?” ran through my mind the moment I turned in my last assignment. Believe me, free time is necessary, but attempting to see old friends isn’t something you remember being difficult. That is, until you spend the first week of summer not doing anything, afraid to think about going back to work.
You have a job.
Even if you have a job on campus, you’ve probably let your minimum wage job at home slip your mind while enjoying college life. So, you come home and do what you have to do: Work to afford basic necessities, or in my case, to cushion my soon-to-be rent money.
It’s the last thing you want to spend your summer doing, but forgetting about your busy work job happens to the best of us. Oh, and not to mention you probably haven’t driven in almost three months. Remember the difference between gas and brake, and get yourself through that nine-hour shift. Your bank account will thank you, at least for a little bit.
You have (gross) siblings to share things with.
I thought I was a slob, until I remembered I have a brother. I didn’t forget about my brother, but I did manage to forget that when he’s around, I look like Anne Hathaway in “The Princess Diaries.” Not only does he leave the toilet seat up, he does whatever he wants whenever the hell he wants. One night, he decided it’d be a great idea to cook salmon at three in the morning. Yes, I did work at six in the morning, and yes, the whole house smelled like fish.
At school, I’m not concerned with the annoyances of brother/sister bonding. I’m not wondering why his room always smells like Doritos (he doesn’t eat Doritos) and I’m not worried about sharing a car with him. Living with a sibling again may take you by surprise, but you’ve done it before. You got this.
Shower shoes are not the norm.
Showering every night at school means learning how to deal with using a public restroom. In this case, you befriend and appreciate shower shoes more than ever before. But when you go home, shower shoes become old news. As normal as they begin to feel, you won’t be sharing your bathroom with your entire dorm floor (thank God).
In the same vein, you may have forgotten what a comfortable bed feels like. You know, a bed that doesn’t feel like you’re sleeping on a plank of wood, a bed without a mattress pad?
You can say no thank you to bagels for breakfast (everyday) and instead, make yourself some eggs on the stove top you’ve learned to live without. It’ll be awesome.
Your parents aren’t your roommates.
“Where are you?” “What are you doing?” “You’re not taking my car, Brianne!” “What do you mean you’re drinking?” A collection of phrases I never thought I’d have to hear again.
Coming home from a night out is obviously different when you’re at school. At home, you can’t just roll in drunk and expect your parents to be like, “It’s okay, dude. Here, let me get you some water.” While at school, my mom has no idea what my Friday and Saturday nights consist of. The moment I come home, unsure of who I am, she’s unsure of her trust in me to be a decent person.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably forgotten your parents won’t care about how many beer pong games you’ve won. They also don’t want to hear about how you’ve basked in the glory of sinking the very last cup on more than one occasion, running the table as the beer pong champion to beat.
I know you’re not away from home for too long, but your life changes drastically in such a short amount of time. The home you’ve always known starts to feel like a temporary place of being: “I’ll stay here until I can go back to school.” It’s a very interesting feeling, to come home and realize there are a number of things you didn’t think about, although they used to be huge parts of your life.
You get so used to living a certain way, it’s hard to take a step back and remember all of what you used to do while at home. Like always, summer is temporary, and of course you will continue to change, even if you don’t realize while it’s happening. That’s the beauty of the school/home dynamic, and it’s one I appreciate very much.