After cramming for finals and running out of spending money, the thought of going home to see friends, family, and a fully stocked refrigerator is music to my ears. Even though you’ll have much needed down time, going home for break isn’t always smooth sledding.

It is bittersweet going home for my final winter break, as my college career is coming to a near end. However, for some, their experience may not be entirely sweet, and maybe a tad more bitter, so below I have listed a few tips that have helped me get through break in the past. 

Ask what your “at home” boundaries are.

For a lot of us, college offers us quite a bit of freedom that we typically do not have back home. It is important to go over expectations with whoever you may be staying with to avoid any conflict or misunderstandings. As annoying as it may sound, it is their roof so you should follow their rules or make compromises. Let’s not forget the perks though, free food, laundry, quality time and most importantly, NO SCHOOL! 

Some questions you should ask yourself or discuss with your family are…

Do you have a curfew while you’re home?
Are there family obligations or events you should plan around?
What chores are you expected to help with?

You may be off scot-free while living at home, but if not, a reminder might be nice BEFORE you get in trouble for breaking an old rule you forgot about. 

Cut Out the Naughty Words

I have been known to have a little bit of a potty mouth while at school. But I remember going home my freshman year when I forgot to match my mouth to my environment and my father wasn’t pleased.

Here are some curse word alternatives to replace the language you may have grown accustomed to (and yes, it’s okay to laugh at these): holy cow, bologna, fudge nuggets, son of a gun, shucks, darn, shoot, my goodness. These will come in handy when you want to tell the story of the time your bratty roommate wouldn’t do her darn dishes for goodness’ sake. What the heck! Am I right? 

Be Prepared to Discuss Academics

Are you ready to chat about how you did this semester? I bet your parents are. Oh, the joy of explaining why you did poorly in an art class. “It wasn’t art, Mom, it was art history, and I don’t do well with memorizing dates and names.”

If the heat is too much to handle, just deflect by bringing up one of your sibling’s screw ups (if you are an only child then I don’t know what to tell you.) Just kidding — but having an adult discussion about grades and how to improve them can show maturity. Your parents could have much needed wisdom to share with you.

However, for those who have parents with high expectations, please keep in mind that you are doing your best. You are not a failure if you received a poor grade, struggled with a class or didn’t perform the way you had hoped.  

Finally, Spend Time With Your Family

Many of us only go home over breaks, and we often want to spend that time catching up with other friends or participating in seasonal activities. Which is great – BUT your family misses you too. If you have younger siblings like I do, you know how much of a pain they can be when they want your attention – try to compose your patience and offer some quality time, it’ll mean more than you realize!

Some ideas to bond with your siblings or parents or guardians could be family game nights, movie nights, craft nights, cooking parties, or outdoor activities (such as sledding, if there is enough snow at least)! 

It may take some adjusting for your family to get used to having another body around the house again. It may take time for you to adjust to the house getting quiet at 9pm instead of your 1am sleeping schedule. Once you settle in again, nothing can beat some quality family time and of course, free food that isn’t from a cafeteria! 

– Makayla Lende ’23