After a long semester, I wanted nothing more than to come home from school. I had just finished (or pretty much bombed) most of my finals (I wasn’t exactly climbing the academic ladder of success my freshman year). I was stressing over dealing with professors and deadlines and about a million other things, so I was ecstatic to go home for my first college winter break. For starters, I didn’t have to pay for laundry for an entire month and it was then that I realized that good things truly can happen to good people. I was around my old high school friends and my family and I wasn’t limited to only eating the food in the dining hall! Keep reading for my struggle returning home for winter break!
But while I had access to all of these things that I couldn’t have when I was away at school, I also immediately became aware of the power dynamic of the household. At school, I had the freedom to go and come as I pleased. I basically didn’t have a curfew. I could have friends over whenever I wanted for however long I wanted them to be there. Don’t get me wrong; I was responsible and disciplined, but I could basically do whatever I wanted to do. When I came home for break, I quickly started to understand the difficulty of coming home for the first time after being on your own for months.
I had to adjust to following the rules of my parents’ household again. All of a sudden, I had to check in with my family whenever I was going to be out late, which felt weird. I was never a party person who stayed out late every weekend anyway, but I could never get over that cloud of authority weighing me down whenever I was at home.
I understand that my family was proud of me for going off to college and pursuing an education, but I was so over the constant questions. It was frustrating to talk about my grades or how much money I had (or didn’t have at the time). I didn’t want to discuss how much weight I’d gained or how fun the parties were that I never got invited to or my nonexistent sex life or how I still didn’t know what my major was going to be. I love my family, but talk about frustrating!
The thing I hated even more than the constant questioning of my personal life (and the fact that parents never seem to remember to shut the door back after leaving your room… when they didn’t knock in the first place) was the constant questioning of my morals. College definitely changed the way I felt about a lot of controversial topics, especially after taking my first LGBT Studies and Women’s Studies classes. I became “too mouthy” and “too opinionated,” which I know is common among most college students.
I’ll admit that once we get even a little bit of a higher education, some of us have the tendency to act like we know everything. But me declaring myself as a feminist and my desire to be an activist within the LGBT community were my personal choices that I didn’t feel needed to be explained or justified to people who clearly just wanted to judge me based on those choices. I don’t think I was ever overbearing, but I did want my opinions known about topics that I was really concerned about. And certain people back at home seemed to have a problem with that.
My first winter break back at home during my freshman year taught me a lot about how I was expected to act according to my friends and family members. When I left to go to college, my friends and family at home weren’t there to see me grow and learn and kind of come into my own person. All they remembered was the person I was before I left. It’s tricky sometimes because even though I felt as though I was really becoming an adult, I felt like my family still saw me as a child. It was then that I realized that no matter how old I got, I would always be my parents’ child. And rules are rules despite how much I thought I knew about the world.
Returning home since then has been easier. My family and I have open discussions about how I’ve changed during the years that I’ve been away. Every now and then, even offering to pay a small bill or paying for gas or dinner with the family has gone a long way in showing that I feel as though I’m an adult and am ready to have the respect one deserves…but I still love the care packages that come during finals week!
What has your experience been like returning home for winter break? Has it been easy or difficult? Feel free to comment below and share the article!
Featured photo source: tumblr.com
Shatece is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and a minor in LGBT Studies. She currently attends Northern Illinois University and is incredibly excited to be writing for SRtrends.