The end of term – for us students anyway – means the odd Christmas party, the mad rush to hand in assignments before the deadlines set… And to get that library book returned before the due date to avoid a draconian fine.
It also brings a sense of cheer to halls of residence up and down the nation, as the stresses of university courses are over and the festive fun can once again begin. Then of course, people start to head home for Christmas.
Train stations and motorways alike are filled with packed bags and cars, as students suffer the festive rush to get back home.
Once they get home, it’s safe to say that it’s a time for family and celebration After all, a semester is done with and there’s one more to go. For parents however – especially if you’ve got a first year on your hands – you might find that getting your kid back from a semester away requires a bit of adjustment. Your budding university student has likely led a different life whilst they were away – getting back home might prove somewhat of a surprise to them! I’m a fourth year and still haven’t got the hang of it.
With that in mind, here are a few things to expect…. the good and the bad!
“The Fridge Issue”
Oh my goodness – how wonderful does that fridge look when we open it again?! After a semester of a smelly and dirty fridge where half of what you own gets nicked (seriously, I know who you are) a perfectly clean fridge that’s full of stuff that you can shamelessly eat is just an utter delight. Well, that’s what us students think is the case – the reality is that the massive load of bacon I cooked up this morning was meant to be covering the turkey in a few days. Sorry Mum.
All your festive chocolate will disappear if it’s not well-hidden – or worse, you tell me where it is. I get the sense all the orange juice in the fridge in the garage probably was meant to wait until the relatives got here too.
Sadly, my advice is to be prepared for it. The stereotype of students eating poorly all the time isn’t true, but I guarantee we won’t have the same variety in our apartment fridge! No wonder my mum has to go shopping so often when I’m back. Add in a brother who somehow eats like I do, you can imagine it gets a little rough.
My only piece of advice? It sounds ridiculous, but do make a point of telling us what you can and can’t eat… Left to our own devices, you’ll find all sorts of new recipe ideas.
Without you complaining at us for leaving stuff all over our bedroom floor, it’s safe to say that our wonderfully tidy room here at room is very different to the one that we have in our uni rooms.
Things will be left in tactically-positioned piles, exactly where we need to find them at a later date. For example, I know my hoodie from Grenoble is underneath my chair, next to my satchel. My jeans? Wherever I stood to take them off.
Problem?! Naturally standards that you might have set whilst they live at home are perhaps going to slip… So for the first day or two you might spot the odd thing in the wrong place. Personally I think it could be forgiven for a day or two before something needs to be said. Of course, if it gets really messy then a polite hint that things will need to change in the future will not be ignored.
“But he sleeps all day…”
We’ve had a difficult semester, OK? Towards the end of the year, we’ve no doubt had plenty of pieces of work to make sure were submitted and finished in time. For me, this meant my semester involved taking full advantage of the 24h opening times at the library – often for days at a time. Coming home usually means no work to think about, so what better time to catch up on some of that sleep? Forgive us if we’re a bit grumpy when you come into our rooms before 10am at the very earliest. We have to compensate you know!
“There are some disputes…”
Ooh yeah, I might want to say a bit on that. If you are having someone back for the first time, you might find that things aren’t the same. Think of it as having a teenager back in the house, only this one can actually move out if they don’t like it.
Falling out or arguing is something that does unfortunately happen from time to time. It really stems from the fact that they probably lived by their own rules at uni and enjoyed their life of flatmates and friends and whatever else comes with it. Coming home can be a shock. It can happen over the summer too – where long periods of time away from their ideal environment can begin to wear thin.
Try and be diplomatic and realise that home living isn’t the same as being at university – and many students prefer the latter for the freedom
Obviously I’m trying to be light-hearted here about some of the changes you see in your household, but there is a serious message to all of this. Sometimes, things can grate and annoy, but remember that for the last four months your kid has been away in a completely different setting and soon the novelty of having a full fridge is going to wear off a bit. Things might annoy you too, but remember that ultimately they’ll adjust and it shouldn’t have too much impact on your holiday period.
If nothing else, remember that we’ll be off soon – and your house will be all the quieter for it!