Many college students graduate not only as experts in their fields but also in the art of moving. Students live on or near campus for 9 months while they are in school and when May rolls around, many of them pack up and head back home to live with their family until August when the cycle begins again.
Students look forward to these summer months. For some, this time provides an opportunity to relax after a stressful semester. For others, it is an opportunity to work a summer job and save up some money for the upcoming school year. For everyone who is moving home, it is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends who they’ve missed over the course of their busy year at school.
Parents and family often look forward to this as well - a chance to spend some time with their students and get to know the people they’re growing into. While both parents and students look forward to spending time together, it can be a bit challenging.
Students are coming home after living independently for 9 months. They are likely now used to doing what they want, when they want, and not having to keep anyone informed of what they do choose to do. It is an adjustment for parents as well. The last time their student lived at home, they were likely calling the shots - setting the rules, enforcing a curfew, knowing where their student was and with whom.
All of this can lead to some growing pains as parents and students work to figure out how to live together in harmony once again. We asked students what they wish they could say to their parents about being home for the summer. Here are some of the things they said:
“Let me be free”
Students don’t say things like this because they don’t love or respect their parents. They have just gone from a world of total independence to sleeping in their childhood bedrooms again. Like their parents, they are learning to navigate this changing relationship and new circumstances.
“I miss the dorms”
It can seem odd to parents to hear students complaining about missing their dorms while they are living in a comfy spacious home that includes a washer and dryer available for use at any time. This complaint doesn’t really stem from the space though. What students are actually missing is a space that feels truly their own. So, don’t be shocked if your students want to move their mini-fridge into their bedrooms for the summer. They aren’t craving snacks, they’re craving independence.
"Thanks for everything"
Students are appreciative of the way their parents and families help take care of and support them even if they don’t always verbalize it.
Students moving home for the summer can be challenging but it is an incredible opportunity for parents and students to get to spend time with each other and get to know one another as adults.