Returning Home for Winter Break

December 9, 2022

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As the semester comes to an end, students may be feeling a sense of sadness or relief, or even a little bit of both. As difficult as the first couple of months of college can be, you conquered it as best you could and, hopefully, made some great memories along the way. Returning your textbooks and packing to go home for winter break is freeing, but saying goodbye to all of the new friends and comforts that you have found can be difficult. Endings like these are always bittersweet!

The thought of returning in the new year to a different schedule can feel daunting, but you have earned these next few weeks of relaxing, catching up with family and friends, and taking time for yourself. Going home for the holidays means something different for everyone, and may be harder for some people to adjust to than others. Whether you can’t wait to leave campus or you are dreading returning home for winter break, here are a few tips for getting acclimated to a different environment following fall semester:

  1. Keep in touch with your friends from college- This may go without saying, but it can be easy to put some relationships on the back burner when you are apart for some time. While you are unwinding and reminiscing with people from your past, don’t forget to make time for your friends from college. Texting or calling each other a few times over break will ensure that you pick up right where you left off when you get back to campus!
  2. Talk to your family about boundaries- Living on your own in college is great, but coming home to curfews and rules can be a challenging adjustment to say the least. Upon arrival home, have a mature discussion with your parents or guardians about what is expected of you while staying with them for winter break. Remember they may need a little more time to adjust to this newfound independence, and they only want what is best for you.
  3. Embrace who you have become– College changes a person. Whether it be in the form of a new haircut, a new passion, or a new lifestyle, it is normal for students to return home feeling different than when they left. Instead of reverting back to your old self, embrace the new you! Don’t shy away from your past. College is a time for personal growth and many times you will find the friends you had in high school have changed, but so have you. Embrace who you are and try not to be too critical or judgmental of yourself or others.
  4. Take time to do something fun with your friends or family– Filling your break with exciting activities will allow you to make the most of your time at home, and will give you memories to look back on upon returning to college. Invite friends over for a movie night or to bake holiday cookies, or go play basketball at a local gym. Take a walk with your family and admire the holiday decorations, plan a game night, or go on a ski trip! You don’t have to plan anything elaborate, but these excursions may take some of the pressure or stress off of coming home.

For some, coming home from college can be the highlight of their semester. For others, returning home can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. Allow yourself the space to reacclimate, and don’t feel guilty for whatever feelings you may be having. Take advantage of the break and enjoy time with your loved ones. You deserve it! Here are several additional tips not only for students, but parents as well on how to cope with the return of college students for winter or summer break. 

Key Takeaway Scoop: Coming home from college means something different for everyone. Some may feel excited about returning to their family and friends, and others may feel anxious about adjusting after being away for so long. Be honest with yourself and your emotions, as there is no right way to spend a break from college. Just focus on making the most of this time, whatever that means for you.

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Ava Lombardi, Author

Ava Lombardi is a third-year student at Syracuse University studying Writing and Rhetoric with a minor in Political Science. At College Scoops, she is an editorial intern and works on gathering student testimonials and writing articles for the company's membership platform.

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