Heading home for a week or two is fine, as you get the luxury of mom doing your laundry and free Wi-Fi, but going home for summer is a completely different ball game.

As a freshman, you were probably whining and calling your parents every week to tell them how much you miss them. It took some getting used to, but, by your sophomore year of college, you will find that you have a new sense of independence, and those whiney calls are reduced to simple texts, at the end of which you ask for more money. Once this transition of independence happens, going home for a long period of time may cause sadness and will take some getting used to.

I’m a grown up. Well, kind of.

In college, you get this false sense of adulthood. Not having anyone to answer to and doing everything simply because you want to makes you feel like a true adult. Having to wake up every morning and contemplate going to classes, then deciding to go, is the ultimate test to show that you are an adult. So, it probably never crossed your mind that re-heating take-out and wearing the same socks three or four times a week does not constitute as adult-like actions.

It’s not until you move back home for the summer and hear your parents lash out at  you for eating like a pig and forgetting to empty your laundry basket that you realize how childish you are. Going home for the summer contradicts everything that you have become, which will lead to annoyance and irritation. This is when you’ll see why college students are so eager to permanently move away. If you have the type of parents who see any evidence of independence as being disrespectful, then you’re in a for a very long summer break.

Say what? A curfew?

  1. You probably think this is a joke and your parents won’t do this, but, yes, curfew still happens, and you’ll probably be put in check by your parents for disregarding them. Parents are the kings and queens of being shady, so there are two ways that they can impose a curfew:
  • The “You don’t have a curfew” curfew: This is a tricky one because it’s basically your parents telling you that you don’t have a curfew, but they drop hints as to what time they would like you home. The non-curfew makes it look like the time you come home is left to your discretion, but, really, you know that if you come home any later than 1 a.m., you won’t hear the end of it from your folks.

You know it’s a non-curfew when your parents remind you of your high school curfew, their lights-out policy, or that they have a specific time when they turn the alarm on or something.

  • The straightforward curfew: This is for the savage parents who, no matter how old you are, will never tell you that you don’t have a curfew. These parents expect a PowerPoint and three-page essay to explain why you want to stay out later than your curfew.

In college, you get used to staying up late and struggling to wake up in the mornings, but at least you get to decide your own bedtime and curfew. So going home and having someone dictate your bed time may be a tough pill to swallow.

The inevitable “What are you doing with your life” talks

When you’re in college, you get to avoid the impending doom known as your future. You can shelter yourself from responsibility and be comforted by the idea that no one is pressuring you to do well; however, going home and being around your parents is a constant reminder that you’re a failure. Even if you’re a straight A student, your parents will find a way to compare you to someone else who is doing exponentially better and make you feel bad about yourself.

The worst part about all of this is that there is no plausible rebuttal; you just have to sit there and stare into space for these long and annoying talks.

College friends versus hometown friends

Unfortunately, for some college students, going home for the summer means they can’t visit their college friends. Many times, you’ll start to realize that you’ve outgrown their friendships and miss the company of your college friends. It’s sad, and you are forced to have shallow conversations with people whose views no longer align with yours.

It’s emotionally taxing to be away from those whom you’ve grown extremely fond of and spent countless hours studying and complaining about your workload with. The toughest part about missing your college friends is that you start to realize all of your friends from home have moved on with their lives. Summer at home will feel like you’re stuck in the twilight zone with alien people who don’t speak your language.

How to cope with summertime sadness

Summer is supposed to be filled with memorable adventures, but the truth is, it’s hard to go home when you’ve become so used to being away at college. The best way to avoid the summertime blues is to set a summer agenda, which can include the following:

  • Finally catching up on some reading: If you’re unsure of what books to read this summer, you can use goodreads.com to tailor your book search to your interests and find the most popular books to read for the summer.
  • Geocaching: Are you looking for an adventure? Well, geocaching.com allows you to go treasure hunting in your area. It’s a fun and simple activity that uses your GPS to find containers that are hidden around you. The caches differ in size and hold an assortment of treasures. Just imagine spending your summer hunting for these neat storage containers that can carry anything from a simple letter to a vintage toy.
  • Family vacation: Before your parents drive you insane, try and coerce them to take a family vacation. You and your family can go somewhere new and interesting, and, at least for one week, they won’t nag you about your life choices. Reader’s Digest has a list of affordable family vacations, including visiting southern states for a Southern barbeque tour or heading to Washington for a tour of the national parks.

There’s always something to do. To prevent summertime sadness, just plan ahead and have an open mind so you can enjoy your summer break at home.

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