Going home for the holidays can be a relaxing and refreshing time, but students often return to a different life in their hometown than the one they left on move-in day.
Because being at college allows students the freedom to do what they want when they want, comparative cultures and politics senior Fattima Ali says one of the biggest differences between college and home is the independence, or lack thereof.
“When you go back to your parents’ house, it’s parents’ house, parents’ rules,” Ali said. “But when you end up spending four months just being on your own having the full autonomy, it kind of takes you back to the past and you feel like you are in high school again.”
However, some students believe that college gave them less free-time, like human biology freshman Reiley Brown, who said returning home allowed her to relax.
“When I was here, I could choose what I wanted to do, but I also had a lot of different things I was committed to doing like clubs,” Brown said. “Then going home, I live in a lot smaller of a town environment so ... I didn’t have as much going on and I was just overall less busy.”
After returning home for the holidays, many students noticed a shift in how their parents perceived and treated them. History freshman Delayne Bassett said that her family treated her more like an adult since she had been away.
“Personally, I have three younger siblings so my parents have always treated me pretty maturely,” Bassett said. “But there was a definite difference when I came home. Before I came to college I had a certain bedtime and everything, I wasn’t allowed to take food out of the fridge without asking and my siblings still can’t. However, I’m allowed to do pretty much whatever I want now.”
Brown agreed. After being in college, she no longer felt she needed to ask for help with anything from her parents.
“I’m responsible for a lot more stuff now,” Brown said. “Like I went and got my textbooks on my own rather than having my parents pay for it ... and I had to change my own classes for this semester. So it’s just I had to do stuff on my own more than I would’ve when I was in high school, living at home.”
Though students felt the difference after returning home, being around family was still important to them.
“I feel like family understands you a lot, so you have that ability to be able to feel comfortable,” Ali said. “Also just personally ... my house, I love it because I have my own room and my own bathroom so it’s just that luxury of being back home.”
While being at home for the holidays, students tend to feel like different people than they are in college.
“It’s almost like how there’s a difference in how you act with your friends versus how you act with your parents and other adults in high school,” Bassett said. “I feel like my friends are here, so I’m able to kind of goof off with them ... rather than when I’m at home, and I need to be professional and set an example for my siblings.”
Though all college students are becoming adults, many students know their parents will always struggle to treat them as such.
“Yes, my parents give me so much responsibility and they make me feel like an adult,” Ali said. “But, because I’m the youngest in my family, no matter how old I become or how old I get, I will still be treated like the baby of the house at times.”
Share and discuss “MSU students share perspectives on returning home” on social media.