A year away at college has come and nearly gone, and it’s time to move out of the dorm—temporarily—and stay with your parents for the summer.
Such a major experience has no doubt changed you. They say “you can’t go home again.” The truth is home won’t seem quite the same, because you won’t be the same. In a way, this is a chance to get perspective on how much you’ve grown, and it may allow you to strengthen your relationships with your parents and friends back in your hometown.
These tips should help.
Bring Only What You’ll Need
When you moved to college, you had to carefully choose what you would be able to have in your dorm, or shared apartment. You’ll need to do something similar when going back home for the summer.
Bring home only what you’ll need. Think of this as a airplane carry-on and check in suitcase combination. Bring your favorite clothes, your computer, tablet, and phone, and a few gifts for people back home, related to your university, such as t-shirts, mugs, and notepads. You may have a few other things you’d like to bring. Perhaps you have textbooks you want to keep, but that you no longer need for class, or a few books you’re currently reading.
We recommend you put everything else in storage. You shouldn’t need a unit any larger than a 5x5 or 5x10. Compare monthly rental prices near you. Some facilities may offer discounts for college students. Also, we highly recommend you get a unit with climate control. This will add between 25% and 30% to the bill, but is essential to keep your belongings in good condition.
This period of your life is about stepping out on your own, safely. A balance between independence and still needing that parental support.
Know that may never fully change. You’ll always want your parents’ best dinners, and that comfort of home. But you’re still halfway to independence.
Make your own decisions and be your own person. Be respectful of your parents, but ask that they be respectful of your adulthood. If you come in late, do so quietly. If they don’t want your friends or romantic interest spending the night, then save that alone time for elsewhere.
Share and Be Open to Ideas
You’re learning new things in college, getting exposed to new ideas. You may have new views your parents aren’t used to or don’t agree with. If you’re able to, discuss them with your parents. Keep an open mind, and ask that they do as well. Some of your new ideas and attitudes may still change. You may be trying something out that you’ll later find isn’t really you, but it’s tough to tell what will stick and what won’t at this point.
Your parents went through young adulthood, too. They should be aware that growing up is a process. If they seem to forget that, gently remind them.
Help Make and Follow the Rules
When living with your roommate, you need to share the room respectfully, and you probably have a set of rules to help avoid conflicts. That will be the case as long as you’re living with anyone else, including your parents. Remember that you’re in their home.
Need to borrow the family car? Set a definite time that you’ll return with it (unless they say it’s alright if you stay out late). Have a conversation with your parents about the rules. Yes, it is still their house, and their rules, but the real point here is to make sure those rules benefit them and you.
What are the rules on the aforementioned car? What about on money? Will you need to get a part-time job, or will your parents continue to support you financially as well as giving you a place to stay? Are you expected to go to church or other functions with your parents? Get this all worked out so there are no surprises.
Hang in There
At some point during the summer, you may yearn for the independence of being away at college again. This could happen, in part, because you’re having a tough time getting along with your parents. Or, you may be having a tough time getting along with them because you miss your friends and school. If this is causing conflict between you and your folks, again, sit down and let them know what you’re going through, perhaps during dinner. It’s more than likely that they will understand.
Overall, enjoy your time back at home. Soon enough, you’ll be out of college and in the working world, living on your own, with a partner, or with friends. Enjoy the company of your parents.