University is not just an institution of higher education but also a mechanism by which a bunch of naïve and sheltered teenagers are churned out into mature and responsible adults (well, okay maybe ‘mature’ and ‘responsible’ is taking it too far, but you get the gist of it). Looking back at my own transformation, I’m amazed with the progress I’ve made so far.
I remember arriving at university as a clueless fresher and being bombarded with the realities of adulthood. It wasn’t a bed of roses but in contrast I had to plan my grocery shopping and meals, do the cooking and cleaning, taking care of bills, dealing with landlords, confronting authority, and generally taking care of myself. My parents were not around for support, and although I miss them immensely, I’ve learnt to cope with the fact that I need to be strong.
With such dynamism around me, living with people with very different upbringings than mine, I found myself questioning some of the things I’ve always taken for granted. Whether it is something simple as trying out (and loving!) a new recipe to what you are accustomed to at home or challenging some core fundamental values such as religious or spiritual beliefs; the road to adulthood is one of introspection and redefinition of oneself.
The realisation that you are you and not simply a carbon copy of your parents can be quite liberating.
The term flies by and before you know it you’re back at home for the summer holidays. There’s hugs and kisses and a couple of ‘I miss you’ sayings thrown around. Then life reverts back to normal, it was like you never left.
Do you know how much I’ve changed? – you feel like saying. But alas, the change has happened internally and you don’t know how to fit yourself back into your old routine. You feel annoyed sometimes, like your independence has been snatched from you.
What time will you be back today? Today’s dinner is fried rice. On Sunday, we’re all going a family friend’s wedding; do you know what you’re going to wear yet? These seemingly innocent questions make you long for when you were not answerable to anyone.
Achieving a healthy relationship
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But there is a fine line between being annoyed with the little things that your family does and being arrogant. Perhaps these little tips may help you ease into your summer back home. The key to a healthy relationship with your family is to have an open and honest conversation. You should let them know how much you’ve grown at university; drop hints about how you now do everything by yourself and how you’re growing to love your independence.
Next, demonstrate that you’ve become more responsible by perhaps helping out around the house more.
It’s completely normal for people to grow and change. Your family will understand as well, just be patient and give them time. With each summer back home, the change in you will become more and more apparent to them and they should begin to accept it. You should realize, however, that the actions of your family do not stem from a bad place, they just don’t know the ‘new’ you as yet and are just doing what they think is best. You have changed, but they probably haven’t.
But you should probably keep yourself occupied during the summer; either get a job or an internship. If you don’t have a routine of some sort, your time at home can feel like an extended holiday and you wouldn’t know exactly how you fit back at home. Spending time working may also be beneficial in reinforcing the fact that you’ve become independent. On the other hand, spending days procrastinating at home may result in more frustration as you’re around your family 24/7.
Nevertheless, it is probably best to not stress out too much over this because realistically speaking you only have a few more summers before you officially move out of your parents’ house. Take it a bit easy during summer and try to understand where your family is coming from. It may be hard but chances are you’re probably going to miss your mums’ cooking or your dads’ chauffeuring while at university so try to enjoy it while it lasts.
What do you think? What advice would you give? Have your say in the comments section below.