Summer: What To Do When Your ‘Hometown’ Doesn’t Feel Like Home

You just moved back home after an incredible year away at school. You had an awesome time on your own, got used to living by your own rules, and made new friends who made it hard to leave. You may be excited to live at home again (who doesn’t like home-cooked food or a full, stocked pantry), but you realize that the transition back home may not be so easy after all…

If you are anything like me, freshman year of college was a blur of new experiences, freedom, academics and opportunities. You go from anything and everything you have ever known and grown up with to something completely different. Now that the school year is over, you find yourself back to where you started, putting your college life on hold.

How do you connect your two different ‘lives’? Where does your college life meet your home life and how can you make the most of your time away from the pressures of school? Transitions can be hard, but keeping these tips in mind may make the collision of school and home a little less painful.

· Keep in touch with friends from home and friends from school. It’s important to maintain friendships in both places. Although it’s completely normal to feel lonely and isolated at home, use your time to re-connect with peers from your hometown high school or family members who may have become distant throughout the school year.

· Find something to occupy your free time- a job, new hobby, travel, etc. A little extra spending cash may come in handy back on campus, but a summer job may also give you something to put on a resume, work experience or a sense of accomplishment. Try something you have never tried before—sharpen your cooking skills or raid your mother’s scrapbooking closet; get your creative juices flowing!

· Bring a little bit of college life back home. Remember all those crazy pictures you took at football games in the fall? Post them around your room to remind you of your college memories. Also, try doing some of the same things you did on campus while at home. Was Sunday brunch with friends in the dining hall a ritual? Try meeting some hometown friends for brunch at your favorite local restaurant!

· Re-work your relationship and boundaries with your parents. Now that you have lived on your own, you may expect more freedom and less household responsibility. Remember, you still live at home and your parents may have the final say—but kindly remind them that your college experiences have made you a mature, responsible young adult, and that may, in fact, translate to a more flexible curfew.

· Enjoy time to reflect over the changes in your life and the path they may lead you toward. You went through a lot this past year. College years are tough. You learn a lot about yourself, your passions, and your sense of determination. Take some time to think about what this past year meant to you, what went well, and what may need to change next year.

My hometown will always be home to me. Although it feels like I have to balance two separate lives, the place I grew up in and the people I grew up around will always hold a special place in my heart. The people and places from my childhood made me the person I am today. Now, I am lucky enough to start a new journey in a new place—and balancing the two may be difficult, but it also makes me realize that home may not just be about a specific zip code. Home may be about the people I am surrounded by and the experiences that define who I am as a person.

By Meaghan O’Connor | Photo:

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