It’s going pretty fast, just like our parents told us it would. My first year of college is done, and for many of my upperclassmen friends, college is finished altogether. While the former seniors all seek employment in the “real world,” freshman, sophomores and juniors all go home for the summer.
Summer, three whole months of laid-back relaxation, maybe a casual part-time job, and real home-made food. But that’s not all. Did I mention the wild-card? You’re living with your family again, after almost nine months to yourself. You’ve made your own schedule, managed your diet, brushed your own teeth, and binged on Netflix just fine by yourself. And now you’ve got upwards of two (and maybe even as many as 12) people telling you how to live and to work around them.
Yes, it went from you (and maybe your roommate/suitemates) to a whole pack of people that you’ve been raised with. They are just like you, or sufficiently different than you, to be suitably annoying, demanding, tiring, etc. Take your pick of adjectives, and feel free to add more.
Family means you can’t blast Nirvana, Everclear or Soundgarden (this is real rock music for those that settle for less) when anyone else is in the house. “Rough music corrupts small children, silly.” You can’t stay up until four in the morning. Parents (unsurprisingly) go to bed before 11 p.m. Who knew, right?
It’s a lot of change in a short period of time. Instead of trying to readjust to suit our families, many of us will try to escape through work, old friend-groups, or even stay at our grandparents' place for a few days. But before you call Ghostbusters and try to get away from the household, let me throw an alternate solution at you.
I am currently riding in the back of a packed-to-the-gills Toyota Sienna, surrounded by suitcases, snack bags, a Yeti cooler, 20 or so DVDs and of course, my family. It is radically different than my quiet dorm room, where I could relax, surrounded by baseball posters and my books, unadulterated by siblings changing the music, moving my stuff or calling me names. We just finished an eight-hour stint at Six Flags Great America, where we ate hot wings, rode rollercoasters up-down-around-sideways-backwards enough to make us sick, danced with Looney Tunes characters and (dare I say) bonded as a family.
It wasn’t a typical college-style Friday, which for me, consists of classes, afternoon napping and then staying up all night with friends. It wasn’t a Friday where I half-thought about my assignments due Monday, or decided whether or not I was going to get up for breakfast (or lunch) Saturday morning/afternoon.
It was a Friday of fellowship. It was a Friday of food and fun. It was a Friday of Family. It was different from what I have grown used to and it was a good kind of different.
This is my solution, and I offer it to you, because I don’t want you to miss the best part of your summer. This summer, instead of trying to escape your family, embrace them, enjoy them, and experience life with them. Live your life at home as much as you do outside of the home. Because if you think your first (or second or third) year of college went quickly, think about how short this summer is with your family.
If this isn’t your last summer of college, it is officially one year closer to being over. College is a chance to grow up, and being home is a chance to feel like a kid (even if it’s just a little bit). Take advantage of it. Live it up this summer. But do it with your family. They’re what can make your summer one worth remembering.