Let the Compromise Negotiations Begin!
Here we come, home for Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years, so we are going to need to compromise. For students, coming home for Thanksgiving this year doesn’t necessarily just mean a 3-day break where we come home on Wednesday and are gone by Sunday because most colleges have decided to go online after Thanksgiving. This means that we will likely not make our return to campus until mid-January of 2021, if not later if that is what we choose to do. Some students who have leases are choosing to return to school after Thanksgiving and ride out the three weeks of in-between. Students in dorms also have the option to come back, but others may choose to stay home. Most sorority houses will be open for the two weeks after Thanksgiving so women will have a place to take exams.
This year, it is totally understandable why returning to campus may not be something we choose to do and we want to emphasize that whether we decide to stay or go, the decision should be one that works best for us. However, with COVID-19 still in mind, it is also very important to have a family discussion about what your family will and won’t accept to keep the family safe, comfortable, and healthy. We recommend having this family chat at the beginning of break to ensure everyone is on the same page.
One of the main reasons we may want to return to campus after Thanksgiving is that we do not want to go two months without our friends and we know that the benefits from the quiet serene study spots at college are more conducive for preparing for finals. On the other hand, we know students who have chosen to pack up all of their stuff and come home for the two months because they are more comfortable being at home with their family. Neither is right, neither is wrong; it is just based on preference.
Chances are some students are definitely planning to be home for a long period of time, whether it be from Thanksgiving to January or from finals to January. You should be prepared to spend a lot of time cooking, a lot of time cleaning, and a lot of money on us collecting items we do not wish to pay for when we go back. Another thing to realize is that we do not have the same sleeping habits that you do and are used to being able to come and go literally all hours of the night.
A good suggestion is to start off from day one coming up with some rules and possibly some compromises. I’m not sure your old curfews will work, but if you are like my parents who can’t sleep well until you know I am home safely, then, by all means, let’s find a concession. Perhaps a call or text alerting you that we are safe and will be home eventually is all you need to rest easy.
There are all kinds of things that may need a bit of conciliation. For instance, I, personally, don’t mind helping out with their laundry, but I may not sort it like you do or fold it like you do or even, heaven forbid, separate out the whites and colors like you do. I also don’t really mind if I have to wade through a mess in my room to find my bed. As long as the disarray stays confined to my bedroom behind a closed door, I ask you to overlook this. These may not be the issues you will have to deal with. Perhaps your kids are tidy; apparently, I am not.
We may arrive home to a potential job. If not, prepare as we try to find one along with all the other high school and college kids that are in the same boat. Please understand it isn’t easy to find a job for a few months, especially since most major stores that traditionally hire seasonal workers, may not have those jobs available this year. Let’s discuss what you intend to pay for and what our responsibilities will be throughout the 1-2 month time we will be home? Job, internship, etc?
Chores. Sure, your parents handled all the things we are about to ask us to do while we were away, but really, it is only fair that we chip in; after all, we will be living at home. I prefer not to think of myself as a border while I am home. There is no reason we can’t pitch in. It takes little to no time for us to relearn our old dishwashing habits or how easy it is to vacuum the upstairs.
Surely, we are excited about home-cooked meals, especially around the holidays. Be prepared for your food bill to multiply again. Speaking of food; college kids tend to eat A LOT and at odd hours. Perhaps you can make an agreement as to which meals we will be joining the family for. For those meals that we heat up when we come in just before the sun comes up, we can promise to use the kitchen quietly. And, empty containers in the fridge? We should make sure to throw them out and either go to the store to replace or put it on the grocery list.
Regardless, we know you are very happy to have us home, and we are just as happy to be home but we are also still dealing with the challenges of this pandemic and the many changes to what should have been “the best years of our life.” (Yes, I often heard my parents say college was the best four years of their lives). We will savor our time with you and make memories, but understand, we are not getting those best years of our lives right now.
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