The academic year is coming to an end. You have said goodbye to lectures and coursework assignments and are now preparing for your dreaded exams. Despite the sheer panic amongst many, over the gruelling revision sessions and spine tingling visions of echo filled exam halls; the horror quickly passes and you are celebrating the start of summer. Once you have let your hair down by attending numerous end of exam parties or flat-mate film marathons, you will probably pack your bags to head back home. This can be a hugely exciting time, as you will see old friends and family members again with the reassurance that you do not have to revise anymore!
Once you set foot in the family home, you will probably notice the perks straight away. The joy of no longer having to do your laundry, indulging in a Mother’s homemade cooking alongside the unlimited supply of snacks, or returning to the living room sofa to spend endless hours watching television with zero revision guilt. However, these luxuries can be met with conflicting curfews and an array of other parental restrictions. The independence and freedom you had established during University may no longer be present and you may begin to question why you left Cardiff in the first place! The best way to overcome any frustration is by making an active change, through productivity and compromise.
Here are some tips for making your summer as enjoyable as possible when back in the family home:
- Keep Busy
Locking yourself in your room to indulge in Game of Thrones marathons, attempting to avoid potential confrontation can only get you so far. If you are struggling to cope with household restrictions, then the simple solution is to go outside!
You should make the most of any good weather the UK has to offer, whether it be on your own or with company. Make the effort to meet up with old friends and catch up; organise trips to the beach or park, host BBQ’s, go camping etc. Activity filled days and evenings out with close friends provide the foundations for an unforgettable summer. If the weather isn’t great (huge possibility), good company will still allow for countless memories. However, if there isn’t much to do on a rainy day where you live… you could always book a holiday (funds depending)!
If home has a ‘quieter’ social scene to what you were accustomed to at Uni, that isn’t the end of the world either. Your friends may still be at Uni or you may have distanced from old home friends due to both sides evolving and maturing in different ways. Starting a part-time job is a great way to fill that gap, whilst simultaneously repairing a wounded bank account and gaining priceless experience to boost the worth of your CV.
Keeping yourself occupied during summer will ensure that you have a fresh, relaxed mind when re-entering your household. A relaxed and cheerful head will increase the likelihood of having more comfortable conversations with your parents.
Although keeping busy is important, it shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore the elephant in the room. If there are clear disagreements between you and your parents over household rules, the issue needs to be addressed.
Certain curfews or rules of conduct may leave you feeling like a child again, causing you to become increasingly frustrated. Bottling all of your frustration up is unhealthy and sooner or later it will have to be released. It is easy to return to adolescent mode where prolonged sulking is accompanied with the occasional explosion of screaming and cursing.
However, talking honestly to your parents about how you are feeling in an assured manner will highlight your rising maturity. Let your parents know that you are of course an adult now, who wishes to have freedom and privacy e.g. having a night out, alone time with your boyfriend/girlfriend, being able to have the odd lie in. An adult conversation will naturally lead to an adult negotiation.
Compromise is key and the only way a deal can be met is through civil discussion and avoidance of shouting contests and silent treatments.
- Help out
Compromise can be met by offering to help out around the house. Contributing towards cleaning, cooking or providing lifts for family members is a lovely way to show your appreciation for everything that your parents have done for you. It is also effective in earning brownie points within the household hierarchy! Showing off your skills, developed from living away from home, is a great way to seal the deal for your independence and maturity to be accepted.
Remember to discuss time tables and availability as conflict can occur. For example, a day at the beach with your partner may clash with grocery shopping, leading to the possibility of heated verbal sparring. To avoid this, make sure that you continue to negotiate and form mutual agreements for everyone’s daily schedules – communication is key to a peaceful household!
Successful communications can lead to establishing leeway for you to enjoy some independence and express yourself. However, this does not mean that you should disrespect how your family live. You have every right to expect a suitable level of freedom as a fully capable adult. Nonetheless, you will have to meet in the middle with your parents at some point, possibly on numerous occasions. I mean, you can’t behave entirely like you do at Uni!
For example, your parents may kindly permit you to go on a night out, but it may be out of the question for you to come stumbling in, burn some toast and set off the smoke alarm at 3am. Seems fair?
If a discussion has led to compromise and a mutual agreement, then that must be respected. If an agreement is disregarded, you will only be licking your wounds later – harsher restrictions may fall on you as a result of any carelessness.
Enjoy your break!
We hope that our advice will soothe any anxiety about moving back in with your family, whilst providing insight into dealing with any unwanted restrictions.
If you do have any more concerns, our service is available at any time for you to pop in and chat!
We wish you the best of luck with your exams and before you know it, you will be free! Make the most of your break and appreciate the positives of being back home. There may be some inconveniences of course, but they shouldn’t get in the way of you having a magnificent summer.
The Counselling, Health & Wellbeing team are used to dealing with all manner of things. Our team of professionals offer a confidential service that aims to support students. Please contact us in confidence by email, telephone or call in, whichever suits you best.
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