Ahhh, college. The freedom to come and go as you please, eat junk food, go out any night of the week—there’s nothing like it. But like all good things, the school year must come to an end, and for most of us this means back to staying with mom and dad for those three short months we call summer.
Maybe you’re lucky and your parents respect your privacy and freedom completely now that you’re in college. However, for the rest of us (cough…me), the summer means the return of attempts at a curfew and the nightly question of, “Where are you going?”
The transition from total freedom to parental rule of thumb can be harsh, so here’s a guide for navigating the rough water that is summer break.
1. Patience, patience, patience. Getting impatient with your parents will get you nowhere, as I learned the hard way. Instead of snapping, “Why do you care?!” when they ask where you’re headed, calmly reply and ask them if you can please have more privacy—after all, you’re no longer a high school student but a young adult. Your mature tone might surprise them, especially since it’s a far cry from the whining you did in high school. Being a brat will get you nowhere and undermines any argument you make about being an adult.
2. Sit your parents down. Your parents haven’t seen you on campus, so they don’t see all the good things you do on your own: making it to class, joining organizations, doing your own laundry. However, they did see all the mistakes you made through adolescence, and they may be returning to high school habits by enforcing curfews and being controlling. Let them know that you’ve been on your own the entire year, and cite examples of your success.
3. Don’t automatically expect results. One honest talk may not fix anything. Instead, try and adopt a more mature attitude and tone the entire time you’re home—things may improve over time.
4. Be around, sometimes. Sometimes the reasons your parents complain that you’re never home is just because they really miss you. After all, you went from holding their hand when you crossed the street to moving miles away. Take some time to be at home and interact with your parents — even if it’s just once a week. You may find that if they feel like you’re around sometimes, they’ll be less inclined to give you a hard time when you’re leaving the house.
5. Compromise. If we were meant to be on the same page as our parents, they’d be called friends. You need to accept that you might have to negotiate and agree to things that aren’t ideal.
6. Surprise them. Back in the day, your mom changed your diapers, so she may have a hard time mentally seeing you as an adult. Show her that you are one by doing adult things. Get an internship, get a job, make a big purchase on your own, take a road trip, offer to pick up groceries, maybe do your own laundry once in a while — that may be an awakening for mom when she realizes that the rest of the world sees her baby as an adult.
7. Humor is your best friend. If your parents are being ridiculous and it really bothers you, see the humor in the situation. All families are wacky in their own way, including yours. If you view their frustrating habits as endearing quirks, you might get a good joke or a funny story out of it, and it definitely gives you excellent material for tweets (#onlymyfam #wtfdad #getmeouttahere).
8. Bask in the benefits. There is a definite bright side to being home. Home cooked meals, mom taking you shopping, seeing your siblings, no assignments or studying. Whatever it is, enjoy it.
9. Be honest. Tell your parents that you love them, but that this is hard for you. Tell them you are used to coming and going as you please, and you’ve thrived under that routine, and that it’s making you unhappy to feel restricted and controlled. Ask them if they remember how they felt when they came home from college for the summer. Clearing the air might get you some sympathy and at least put your parents into your shoes.
10. If all else fails… Three months is not that long a time … invest in a good countdown calendar and focus on returning to the Zou. Check it daily. Hourly. By the minute. You can make it. Consider living in Columbia next summer. Maybe you’ll see me there. Sorry, mom.
By: Hannah Boxerman | Image: Source