A year ago, their lives were very different. Many were locked up in their rooms stressing over colleges and completing applications that would determine the direction of their lives for the next four years. Everything about the future seemed so uncertain and scary.
But what a difference a year makes! With two or three months of campus life behind them, college freshmen will be returning home in droves for Thanksgiving break with the family and sleeping in their own beds for the first time in as many months.
Not surprisingly, they may have more on their plates than turkey and mashed potatoes.
First, there’s the sudden readjustment to house rules.
It’s no secret that college freshmen tend to celebrate, if not take full advantage of, their newly-acquired independence. Curfew may be a concept they no longer care to understand.
But now that the family is back together, Mom is really excited about reconnecting and continuing a dialogue that abruptly stopped several months ago. And this is a dialogue the average freshman might prefer to forget, especially if it focuses on acting in mature and responsible ways.
Dad expects you to fall back into the rhythm of the household and re-assume your role in the family. Remember you’re still in charge of the trash and your sister continues to need a ride to her violin lesson.
There will be no less than a thousand questions about what you’ve been doing and who you’ve been doing it with.
And chances are that a failing long-distance relationship will end over Thanksgiving break.
In fact, so many freshman couples split over Thanksgiving weekend that college administrators have dubbed the phenomenon “Turkey Drop” or more to the point, “Turkey Dump.”
But absent any pending romantic traumas, your college freshman may actually be a little homesick and welcome the tender loving care that comes with a few days at home.
And while Mom’s cooking and a clean bathroom rank high on the lists of reasons why freshmen look forward to the holiday, it might surprise prospective college students how much life changes and why home looks pretty good after a couple of months in a residence hall.
For those who wonder, here are some very reasons college freshmen look forward to coming home for Thanksgiving:
- A student ID will not be required to get in the house or gain access to your bedroom.
- As long as mom is in charge, you won’t run out of underwear.
- You don’t have to pole vault into a bed lofted 2 feet above your head.
- Dad is not likely to schedule a midnight fire drill or set off the smoke detector for fun.
- No one will want to borrow your class notes, calculus book, or iPad.
- The house won’t constantly smell like burnt popcorn or dirty feet.
- You won’t be sleeping on the common room sofa because your roommate is “entertaining.”
- There’s no need to wear flip flops in the shower or worry about who might have used your soap.
- You know what you’re eating again.
- No one will walk off with your shampoo.
- Your sheets will have been washed within the past two months.
- The kitchen won’t close earlier on Fridays and weekends.
- You won’t be expected to carry on a conversation with a person in the next stall.
- Laundry facilities may be available other than between 3 and 4 am; quarters or other forms of payment should not be required.
- There’s not much possibility of locking yourself out of your room.
- Access to a car could be within the realm of possibility.
- You don’t have to put on a coat and trek across the lawn in the freezing cold for breakfast.
- The party down the hall probably won’t go on all night.
- The furry creature under your bed is most likely the family cat and not a 3-month accumulation of dust bunnies.
- It’s unlikely that anyone in your family will bang on your door after midnight and want to “talk.”
- Earplugs won’t be necessary to block out your roommate’s loud music, snoring, and/or video games.
- There’s no pretense—your family knows who you are.
And for better or worse, Thanksgiving dinner will not be served on a slightly damp green plastic plate.
Welcome home to all those who are fortunate enough to get there!