Despite the grumpy face (which is only because he wanted his dinner sooner and he’s hella unphotogenic), he was so amazing today! Finally a good ride where he actually paid attention instead of just repeatedly asking me if we can canter. Since I’ve been letting him canter around to get energy out, I really wanted to work on his form at the trot. Lately he’s been so full of himself that he would totally invert and just refuse to bend and relax no matter how many transitions and circles I tried. Today though! At one point I looked down and actually saw a dressage horse underneath me. He really used his back and was so nice and soft in my hands. I think he’s really getting there, and I can’t wait for the schooling shows I’m going to have when I move barns for college. We might finally not look like trash.
Return of the College Student: Navigating the Move back Home
by Matthew Rudoy State University of New York-Fredonia Packback Student Blogger
Striding in on horseback, a crown on your head, carrying your prized weapon, enemies vanquished, you return home. In reality you’ve survived and enjoyed another semester of college, conquering finals, carrying your many recent achievements and memories home with you. And though we all want a Shadowfax to “show us the meaning of haste,” (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) we are likely returning in a car packed with possessions that made a college dorm room or apartment feel like home.
As with any hero, everyone wants to know what comes next. There may not be kingdoms to save but there are decisions to make. What are your plans for the summer? How will you adjust to living at home again? The following are my tips for navigating this adjustment.
Independence (or lack there-of)
It’s not easy. Unless your home life is strikingly similar to your college life, it’s a significant adjustment. The change in independence is what I personally have found to be most challenging when moving home for the summer. Shaping your independence is something I love about college. Like most things in life, independence in college manifests itself in ways both big and small. It can be big, like deciding what your major will be, what classes you’ll take, and how you’ll utilize the time when you don’t have commitments like classes or club meetings. Or they could be small adjustments, like no longer being able to do whatever you want to on a Friday night or choosing unhealthy meals for dinner.
Depending on your home life, that independence may not be the same when you return home. But regardless, I think it’s safe to say no one’s college life and home life are the same. Whatever the significant changes may be, it’s a struggle to switch gears so suddenly. What am I supposed to do with all of this free time? Why do my parents/guardians want to know where I’m going every time I leave the house? What do you mean I have to be home by a certain time? I can’t eat whenever I feel like it? You want me to eat meals with the family? What are these meals you speak of? How dare you stop me from eating cold pizza for breakfast?! Some of these things may require a calm sit-down conversation with your parents to go over your expectations when you’re at home and to request a little more freedom.
Stay Busy, Have Fun
The free time question has never bothered me as there’s always something to do, always something to read or watch or write, always old friends to hang out with when you’re at home. Whether you love your free time like me or am someone who needs to stay busy constantly, I suggest finding structure over the summer. When you’re in the college mode there’s a satisfying sense of purpose, that all the hours spent in class and doing assignments and participating in clubs and any paid jobs, are all part of something bigger. There’s that great sense of achievement and natural drive to succeed at your responsibilities. Above all, it acts as a concrete reminder of why you’re in college and why it’s so important. It’s important not to lose that mindset and work ethic over the summer.
While free time is important, it’s important to stay busy. Internships, paid work, volunteerism, dedicating consistent chunks of time to crafting a hobby; Whatever your cup of tea is, pursue it over the summer. Take advantage of the time. It’ll help maintain that sense of purpose and natural drive you feel in college. Having structure and responsibilities is also a great way to get out of the house and not be constricted by home life. (Follow fellow Packback Blogger Brett’s Tips for How to Stay Sharp Over the Summer if that’s the path you choose)
A Final Word of Advice
The last piece of advice I have is to remain patient. Whether the adjustments are big or small, they’ll take time to get used to. And though your family may sometimes drive you nuts, remember they love you and have been instrumental in helping you become the conquering hero, um, I mean successful college student and great person you’ve become. Don’t get too frustrated by all of the questions about your future. Remember, they want the best for you. Entertain their questions and engage in some fun, healthy, maybe even stimulating conversation. Stay sane, enjoy the free time, and keep busy doing something you love.
And don’t worry, you’ll head back to campus before you know it…unless you’re graduating. Then, well, that sucks.
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