With Thanksgiving break over, Binghamton University students are back in their dorms, dorms laden with home-baked leftovers and phone pictures of family. It is easy to snap back into the daily routine of college life, filling days with classes and seeing friends who you have missed. This is a great start to the end of the semester, but it is just as important to value home’s comforts.
It goes without saying that all college students get homesick from time to time, no matter how they may deny it. Home is a place to lean back, to let someone else be the responsible one, to catch up with friends and to ignore the homework that was assigned. It is a joyous time without Sodexo and the dorm heating that works about 75 percent of the time. It is refreshing to drive instead of walk, to have your own room and space back, and to see loved ones. But at the same time, college is a place with much more freedom.
Look at the parallels and the stark differences between college life and home life. The complete independence of college life is refreshing after 18 years of living under your parents’ roof. There is a newfound sense of power in fending for yourself, without being nagged to do chores or clean. No one is breathing down your neck to do this or that. You are on your own. The complete release from the constraints of home are often seen as exciting. No one tells you when to wake up, to go to class, to remind you to eat. This freedom is very new and many young adults have often never experienced it before college.
With a mindset of “no one can control me” and “I can do it all,” trouble often ensues. It is not uncommon for first-semester freshmen to take on more classes or activities than they can handle, gain the “freshman 15” by eating unhealthily and not exercising or fill their entire weekends with parties. It is not healthy to abandon all sentiments of responsibility or caring for your well-being just because there is no one nagging you to do so. This is not to say that all freshmen will behave in this way, but many are silently overwhelmed by the massive requirements of control and maturity that come with living on your own.
On a more positive note, there are ways to avoid the typical freshman’s mistakes. It is key to retain a balance between what you can handle for now and what will be done in the future. It is okay to take fewer credits, to spend a little more time with friends than in the library, to FaceTime or Skype with your family. Retaining a connection to your home life is just as important as being an active part of campus life. Keep talking to your friends at home and plan a time to meet up over the next break.
You are the one in charge of your success, both at college and in your future. It is important to set up habits that will allow you to continue on a path of happiness, with as little stress as possible. It is so valuable to have connections at home and at school. Both places are a part of you, and both places are your homes. You are a part of two communities, both comforting in different ways. So when you say, “I’m going home,” whether it be to your dorm or to your family, there will always be a place for you there.