Just when we thought we were fully adults, the reality of packing up our independence and heading home for the summer hit pretty hard.
For most students, college is a time to finally evolve into their true selves, leaving the standards their parents and guardians set for them aside for nine months out of the year.
Even in the isolated wheat fields of Pullman, people are able to find their genuine friends and participate in things they want to do, rather than what their family wants them to do.
One of the biggest challenges of moving back home for the summer is the inability to see friends that live miles away. Spending time with your high school friends is not always enjoyable.
On top of this, the unfortunate reality that some people are faced with is masking their true feelings and identities from their parents, with the fear that they will not accept the changes their children have gone through.
“You get so acclimated to college life and a newfound independence, which can be confusing and difficult for people that do not have that level of freedom outside of their university life,” said senior advertising major Erica Johnson.
With newfound independence comes a positive identity change in most cases, alongside growth in different aspects of mental health.
For some, they finally feel like they are able to express themselves fully when away from their possibly toxic home life.
A prime example of this freedom of expression is rooted in LGBTQ+ students. Fifty percent of gay youth have reported that their sexual orientation has been rejected by their parents or guardians, according to York College.
When students are away from this mindset and are able to express themselves, it is refreshing to be surrounded by people that unconditionally support them in the college environment.
On the other hand, it can be very difficult to acclimate back to a lifestyle that does not support their preferences, such as homophobic family members.
It can also be difficult to readjust to the expectations our families back home have for us. Responsibility, as we know, is a big word. For some students, their responsibilities in a university setting do not even compare to the level of work they are faced with when being at home.
Going back to their parents’ house in this case is more like going to work than home. Home is where you make it for many people, so when the supportive college atmosphere is taken away, that sudden shift can be mentally damaging.
“I was the happiest I’ve ever been in my first year of school, so coming back home after that was a huge reality check I was not necessarily ready for,” said Ellie Hsu, a student at Grand Canyon University. “I feel grateful to cook for myself and drive everywhere with my siblings, but the level of responsibility I have is way harder than my life in school.”
Something to keep in mind is that we can learn and grow in every scenario. If you feel your mental health deteriorating because you are back in a place that you do not enjoy or do not feel comfortable in, take this time to reflect on the joy you will feel in two short months when we are all back in school.
As they say in middle school yearbooks, H.A.G.S (have a great summer), or at least try to.