Home for the Summerby Surmayee Tetarbe on Jun, 13 2012
There’s nothing more deflating than your sudden lack of independence when you come home for the holidays. Even if you just spent a year in the dorms and don’t really know how to handle bill payments and subletters, for the last eight months, you’d been living on your own terms. You controlled what you did and when you did it, with no one hounding you to do anything otherwise.
So some teething problems are to be expected when you go home and remember that the word curfew isn’t something you can scoff at anymore, right?
Don’t worry, we’ve all experienced it. The shock you feel when suddenly you can’t walk out of your house at 2am without questions being asked, or when you decide that you want ice cream before you sleep and get incredulous looks from your parents. It’s always the biggest adjustment, and even after four rounds, it still takes me a while to realize that there are now other people around me who care what I do and when I do it.
I really only have three words to help you get through it: respect, tolerance and compromise. So far, it’s worked for me every time.
Now asking you to tolerate your parents is an awful thing. They raised you for 18 to 22 odd years, and now you’re going to turn around and only tolerate them? That’s almost insulting. But this one goes hand in hand with respect. Your family adores you, and only sees for you about 4 months a year (sometimes even less). So respect the fact that they want to spend time with you, because let’s face it, we all miss each other (even if we pretend that we don’t).
So what I mean by tolerance is: don’t get snappy with them when they asked you who you’re going to lunch with or where the latest house party is going to be. They just care. You’re not around all that much anymore, so at least indulge them with that. Have some respect. They’re the ones that hauled your butts out of bed so you wouldn’t miss school, the ones who lent you that extra cash when you really needed to cover that date you went on, and the ones who stuck you back on your bike after you fell off it on your first try. They deserve your time just as much as your friends do, probably more. So give it to them.
This is where the compromise comes in. As an international student, coming home is kind of ridiculous for me. It’s like a gathering from around the world, with people coming in from the US, the UK, Australia, Singapore, Canada… the list goes on and on. Trying to coordinate dates is a Herculean task. I grew up with these kids, and see some of my best friends for only a few precious days. It’s natural that I want to spend all my time with them, or at least as much time as humanly possible. But that’s not okay. Yes, having lunch or going out to the movies with the friends is important, necessary even, but compromise a little. Maybe reserve half the days of the week for your friends, and spend some quality time with your family for the other half. Or if you do lunch with your “besties”, then do dinner at home. A little compromise never killed anyone.
Yes, it sucks having to explain to people why walking in at 3am is really not that big of a deal, but you did it for at last 18 years, so why not do it for another couple of weeks?
Adjusting to living with the family can be a little difficult, but just give it some time and some patience. A little compromise and respect go a long, long way, and generally makes for a nicer atmosphere at home. Plus this way, you can go to all your un-college-budget destinations without worrying about how much boba you’ll have to skip to cover for it! It’s really a winning situation