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Surviving home life during the holidays

Back in the day, summer holidays meant a break from the tedium and repetition of school terms that were governed by rules and uniforms. Summer was a time when work and discipline appeared to be a world away. Fast forward a few years and it seems that the opposite is felt by many university students who head back home for the months after term has finished.
Photo: Natcom.org
Our lives back home are not totally devoid of independence. We imagine home cooked food and no bills, blissful novelties that are coloured by the expectation that we can fit perfectly back into the lives that we left at eighteen. But your parents have got used to running a smaller (and perhaps less volatile) household. Your younger siblings have probably been running riot without you. You have to fit around them, and they have to remember how to fit around you.
However, all is not lost, and your independence can still be enjoyed at home, especially without a landlord hassling you for rent. Your parents will no doubt expect a model of responsibility and work ethic, the side of you that you have developed  at university, to occupy their home during the summer months. A job is the ideal means of appeasing them, whilst getting you out of the house (so any bad student habits will go unnoticed) and, of course, it looks great on your CV.
A fail-safe way to approach the long and sometimes daunting university summer is to realise that they are not a total break from the carefree summer months of your school years. ‘CV’, ‘Work Experience’ and ‘Employment’ will no doubt be terms that grate on you when you think of the months ahead. But don’t forget that summer also means a return of your friends from home. They will no doubt want to hear all your uni stories, and vice versa. The hilarious anecdotes and episodes may be few and far between beyond graduation. You have more stories to share now than you ever did when you were still in school uniform.
Just because you are on your way towards leaving home for good, family holidays do not have to be a thing of the past. If you’re lucky enough to have parents who holiday during the summer, family trips are a massive win for the poor student at a loose end as term finishes. Holidays are essentially ‘down-time’, and for many this will take place within the vicinity of a beach, pool and thirty degree heat. This is a far cry from scraping together the pennies to pay the winter bills, and the quality time you will have with your family away from home will put you all in a more relaxed state of mind. As you have been away from home for most of the year, your subtle hints for a getaway will almost certainly be noted. Chances are you’ll reminisce over family holidays whilst wrestling with deadlines next year, so enjoy your family’s company, and the break from the dynamic, yet frugal, student lifestyle while you can.
Siblings will often give you hell for daring to return to ‘their’ abode. Although hostility and resentment may greet you the moment you cross the threshold of the front door, they will soften if you offer your well-intended advice. Questions over the monumental change that is university and the stories of your student life will be welcomed, particularly if they themselves are approaching the crucial yet tender age of eighteen. Ignoring their cruel jibes, in the same fashion as an advisor after freshers week, will instantly elevate your maturity and wear down their defences. They’ve missed you really. Honest.
Swapping your shared house or leaving your halls to return home undoubtedly presents challenges. Your siblings may suddenly resemble the flatmates you avoided in halls, whilst your parents will find it irresistibly tempting to scold your ‘student side’ . But this is easily dealt with. A family holiday will soon sooth any irritation. The cash flow from your summer job will elevate you in your parents eyes and give you more options for killing free time.  Don’t neglect your friends from home during the summer; these few months together may well turn into your best times. And remember, any left over student loan is there for you to burn, and your accommodation back in Norwich is always a handy bolt hole if you need it.

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January 2022
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