Homecoming Culture Shock: 5 Strange Things About Returning Home From College

School’s out! Time to pack away your books, papers, and empty beer bottles and make way for three months away from the dorms. For most college students, summer usually means returning “home” for at least some period of time. Whether you’re just visiting for a few days, or if you’re in for the long haul, you’ll no doubt have some moments of culture shock. As much as home can be a vacation, it’s also, well, home. Here at the 5 strangest things you will have to deal with while home for the summer.


1. Parental Attention

The return to the “rents” is inevitable, and whatever your relationship is with them, whether you barely speak or are in constant texting contact, being face-to-face again is bound to be awkward. They’re not the scary authority figures they once were, and chances are, you (literally) look down on them now. If you’re lucky, you’ll only need to make the usual small talk with just your parents. If you’re unlucky (as I was yesterday), you’ll immediately be accosted by not only your parents, but three grandparents, a sibling, a dog, and your next-door neighbors as well. It’ll be enough to send you running to the library for some personal space.


2. Sleeping In Your Childhood Bedroom

While you’ve been away, your parents have either turned your old room into a guest room/storage closet, or eerily kept it full of your belongings, almost exactly the way it was the day you left for college. For me, it’s the latter, and it feels especially weird having been away for three years, and consistently returning to the same room I had senior year of high school. Waking up in the same bed I slept in as a thirteen-year-old never fails to make me feel completely lost. And being surrounded by my old stuff is seriously strange. There’s a reason I didn’t bring that Led Zeppelin poster and all those yearbooks to college, I don’t want them anymore!


3. TV

Maybe you have cable and TV in your dorm room, but for me, channel surfing is a serious rarity at school (hooray for the internet!). But your parents still have a flatscreen and cable. So enjoy your moment of “omigod-so-many-channels-I’m-not-gonna-leave-this-couch-ever-again-ever.”


4. Awkward Encounters With High School Friends/ Acquaintances/ Enemies /Ex’s

Face it, you’ve changed in your time at college, even if it’s only been a year. Those people you called friends in high school? Yeah, they’ve changed too. And while it’s hopefully good to see your old friends again, there’s no doubt going to be plenty of awkwardness. And if you live in a small town or suburb, good luck navigating around any run-ins with people you might have hoped to never see again. And of course there’s the inevitable stare down with those people you recognize but can’t remember their name, you probably had a class together or something, should you say hi? Oh they’re looking away, okay keep walking.

If any of the above situations become unbearable, you can always resort to:


5. Covert Substance Use

Oh, high school. Remember the excitement of sneaking around to drink beer and smoke pot? Well the thrill of having a few too many has probably not worn off much in your college days, but you’ve also probably had a lot more freedom to get wasted with much fewer consequences. But now you’re home! And though your tolerance is higher, you’re still underage. Unless your parents are really cool, it’s back to the sketchy corner of the park for you. And the allure of sneaking around has definitely worn off.


Conclusion: Go home, but be prepared, and if you can, don’t stay too long. There’s plenty of unpaid internships and food service jobs in other places to keep you occupied and out of the house. Happy Summer!

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