7 Emotions When Traveling Home For Winter Break

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OMG, guys, we did it! We survived finals week, an early start to winter weather, and horribly drafty dorm rooms to make it to this day — the day we traveling home from college. If you haven’t been home for some time, you’re probably feeling some pretty conflicting emotions. Have no fear! It’s all normal, and we’ve found just the right words to sum it all up.

 

1. “YASSSSSS!”

Easily, the first feeling that pops into our mind is just how excited we are to be hitting the road. There will be old friends to hang with, mom’s cooking to eat, and lots of time curled up in our own bed like old times. Just get us on the road already!

GIF via Mashable

 

 

2. “The Countdown is ON!”

Right along with excitement is anticipation. We’ve basically planned out every day of our vacation down to the hour. But with anticipation comes a little bit of fear of the unknown. What if we get stuck at the airport and miss the tree lighting we always go to? Will our holidays totally fall apart? The wait till our leave is really the worst part of this.

 

 

3. “I Will Make This Parka Fit In My Carry-On!”

We all know this, but there’s nothing like a two-week plus trip home to remind us how much traveling can really get to us. Even the most zen traveler would break down at the thought of going through a major airport during the holiday rush or hitting traffic during winter rush hours. And don’t get us started on packing! Our suitcase just keeps taunting us.

 

 

4. “No? Maybe? No?”

We occasionally complain about dorm life and we’re always feeling just a little bit homesick… so then why are we feeling a bit sad about leaving our college campus behind? Maybe our college roommate has grown on us or we’ll really miss the JELL-O in the cafeteria. Whatever it is, it’s really making us wish we would have booked our ticket home for a later date.

 

 

5. “I’m Not Looking Forward to Stepping on the Scale”

Between all the late night coffee with our high school BFFs and our parent’s cooking, we’ve probably packed it on. But do we have any regrets? No way! These winter break pounds are so worth all the love and joy we feel being with our family and friends again. Pass me another cookie!

GIF via Pluckers

 

6. “Wait… How Many Days Till the Next Semester?”

By the end of the first week, something has dawned on us — spring semester is just around the corner. That means we only have a few more weeks to buy our books, check our professor’s ratings, solidify our class/activity schedules, and map out the routes to our new classrooms. I thought this was supposed to be a break!

 

 

7. “I’m Leaving on a Jetplane…”

It always seems to creep up on us just at the right time when we start to really miss being on campus, but it’s here. It’s time to go back. Our parents seem more upset about it, but that’s okay. We are just looking forwards to what comes next… spring break!

 

Summer Before College Series 11: Goodbyes Are Easy!

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Mornin’, Bloggers!

Now that you have completed graduation or will experience it soon, your emotions are probably pretty high. You have left the school that you have attended for the last four years, and you soon will leave your family and friends. This is a new chapter in your life’s story. Although this stage in your life is new, it does not mean that you need to start over. Yes, you will make new friends, but you still can keep your old ones. These friends have helped to shape you into who you are today, so it is crucial to hang on to them.

From experience, saying goodbye to family and friends, even if it is just for the school year, can be extremely tough. I cried for an entire day when I had to say goodbye to my friends. My goal is to make saying goodbye easier for you. The summer before college goes faster than you would ever believe, so it is important to begin to think about goodbyes now.

Some tips to help make saying goodbye easier include:

  1. Hanging out with your friends and family as often as you can. Spending time with those closest to you will help you create many memories to take with you. Also, this will trick your mind into thinking that the “goodbye” will not be the last time that you will see your friends/family for the summer. My friends and I spent nearly every day together before college, and when we went to say goodbye, none of us truly believed that we were leaving and found it extremely easy.
  2. Taking lots of pictures! If you take lots of pictures of family and friends, then you can take them to school with you and look at them whenever you feel homesick! You will always have a piece of them with you!
  3. Planning a Skype/telephone schedule. Develop a communication schedule for your family and friends. That way, it will not be as hard to say goodbye, knowing that you will hear or see them again soon!
  4. Planning a visiting schedule with your friends and family. Similar to the last tip, knowing that you will see your loved ones soon, will make saying your goodbyes easier!
  5. Pulling a “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Like the book/movie suggests, find something that connects you to your friends/family and share it with them. For example, a few girls from my high school sent one journal around to each member of their group, just as the girls in the movie sent the pants. The girls would record their experiences in the journal and then send it to another member. This helped them to stay connected in a fun way. Additionally, this helped the girls keep their relationship alive, as well as gave them something to look forward to. You could do something similar to this! Just find that one thing that connects you!

Again, saying goodbyes can be tough, but if you plan ahead, it can be a piece of cake!

Summer Before College Series 7: Curing Homesickness

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Happy Wednesday!

The next topic in my “Summer Before College Series” is the cure for homesickness. No matter the distance, you will most likely be living away from home for your college career, and with your busy study schedule, it may be hard to find the time to come home. This can be hard on many students. I, a self-proclaimed “Daddy’s girl,” got extremely homesick my freshman year, especially first semester. When you are used to seeing your friends and family every day, the adjustment can be very hard.

Some things that I did to make myself less homesick were:

  1. Joining a club. At the very beginning of my freshman year, my school had an activities fair, similar to most universities. I went into it with an open mind. I stumbled upon the “Pitt Pathfinders” table and was instantly intrigued. I joined the organization, which additionally acts as a work study job. The organization is a very tight-knit group, similar to a family. I am very grateful that I joined Pathfinders. It was a great way to cheer me up when I really needed it. The same can happen for you as well. You can find a club, job, or organization to join at your university. All of these, no matter which you choose, will get you involved in university affairs and will get your mind off being homesick. Some organizations universal to all campuses include Greek life, Student Government, and some sort of tour guide organization. Any group will work as long as you are willing to try!
  2. Bringing an item from each member of my family. This is something that I have continued to do each year. Starting my freshman year, I brought an item from each family member. From my mother, I brought a picture of both of us from years ago, which she gave to me at graduation. From my father, I brought a stuffed puppy that he gave to me for Valentine’s Day my senior year in high school. And, from my sister, I brought a blanket that she gave me for Christmas a few years back. Whenever I feel homesick, I bring all of the items out and lay them in a spot where I can see them every day, and in no time, I feel much better. You can also do this. If you do not want to bring gifts from each member, you could bring items that belong to them instead, given their permission of course.
  3. Bringing pictures of my family and friends. This idea pretty much explains itself. I bring pictures of every member of my family and friends, and whenever I feel homesick, I look through them.
  4. Calling my family and friends once a week. No matter how busy my week is, I try to call each member of my family and friends once a week. This keeps me in the loop of what is going on, and distracts me from remembering that I have not seen them in a while.

College can be a lonely place, but there are things that you can do to change that!

All of these tips have helped me in my most lonely times, and if you copy them, they may help you as well!

Have any additional tips? Let us know!

Going Home Again

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There comes a certain point in every student’s time at school where we think, “I never want to leave this place”. We get so wrapped up in class, friends, parties, and clubs that we forget that in a few short months, summer will arrive. Summer in high school was the best thing that happened all year: summer in college, not so much. As a freshman, I have gotten very used to being on my own. I never have to tell my parents where I’m going for the night or have a certain time that I need to be home by, but that’s all about to change. When I was home for winter break, I got a little taste what this summer is going to be like and to be honest, I am a little nervous as to how I’m going to handle my parents being in my every day life again. Not only that but, will spending all my time with my high school friends feel different? How am I going to stay in touch with my college friends? These are all questions that I have been obsessing over the past few weeks; however, I realized that there are ways to make the transition home easier.

How to deal with your parents:

Your parents love you; so know that they will only continually bother you with questions out of genuine care. It’s inevitable that they will want to know where you are going when you leave the house, so let them know. As annoying as it may be, they have the right to know where you are as long as you are living under their roof and ultimately, it’s not like they’re not going to let you go, they know that you’re technically an adult now. As long as you don’t take advantage of their trust, they will always give it to you.

How to reconnect with your high school friends:

Although you have been texting, calling, and Skyping your closest friends all year, it may be a little weird hanging out with them again when you’ve spent the entire year apart. When I’m talking to a friend from home, I sometimes find it strange when she starts talking about her friends at school and I’m sure she feels the same way when I start talking about my friends at school as well. It’s odd to think that you only used to be friends with each other; however, since you were such good friends before, you will have no problem falling back into your same patterns. Make sure you listen and make an effort to try to understand their lives at school and they will do the same for you.

How to stay in touch with your college friends:

To go from living with these people and seeing them every day to not seeing them at all is a big adjustment. It will be hard to not meet them for dinner every night or talk to them about the boy they tried to set you up with but this all leads to more reasons to road trip! Your college friends live all over and what better way to see them than to take off for the weekend and see where they’re from. Buy a plane or train ticket, save up gas money and go. Looking forward to a planned weekend together will make your summer fly by and before you know it, you’ll be living with them on campus again!

Although right now it may seem like this summer is going to drag on, it won’t. I am starting to realize that the time away from Denison will be good. I can spend time with my family, catch up with my old friends, travel to new places to see new friends and in the end; I know I will be coming back to Granville in the fall.

 

Six Reasons Why You Should Consider Spending Spring Break At Home

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Spring break is a time of excitement, relaxation, and, exactly as it sounds, a break from school. Many students believe that the only way to spend spring break is to go on some exotic vacation with a group of friends, but I am here to tell you that they are wrong. Sure, an exotic vacation sounds fantastic, but I believe that spending spring break at home is the best option. Why?

1. It’s affordable. Spending your spring break at home is the easiest way to save money-plain and simple. Although it may require a plane ticket in some cases, you do not have to pay for hotel rooms or other accommodations that are necessary when traveling. You can stay at home in the comfort of your own bed for free.
2. Plenty of family/friend bonding. Staying home allows you to not only save money, but to see your family and friends that you do not get to see at school. Although some college students go on spring break vacations with their families, most go with their friends. Students who travel for break do not get to spend quality time with their families and/or friends from home. Breaks were made for relaxation away from the busy college life, so what better a way than to spend it with the people who know you the most?
3. Home cooked meals. Mmm Mmmm Mmm. Is that my mother’s wonderful lasagna that I smell? I know more than anyone that nothing beats my mother’s home cooked meals. No matter where you go, you will never find the same comforting quality that home cooked meals give you. Sure, the setting of an exotic location can be fantastic, but can you say the same about the food?
4. Catch up on sleep. The life a college student is crazy and hectic. Sleep is often put on the back-burner in order to finish up that last-minute paper. Spring break is a great time to catch up on sleep. If you spend break away, however, you will most likely not be able to do this. Nobody wants to spend an exotic vacation sleeping when they can go to the beach or shop! Spending break at home allows you to catch up on the much needed beauty sleep that you could not get anywhere else.
5. Get ahead on your reading. Although spring break was made for students to get a break from academic life, some professors still expect reading to get completed. This would be extremely hard to accomplish on a vacation. No one wants to read while on vacation; it is just not appealing. If you go home for break, you are not distracted by the setting and are able to get some homework done or get ahead on your reading.
6. Get a jump on jobs/interviews. Break is a great time to fill out applications and interview for summer jobs. Going home allows you to visit potential job sites, fill out applications, and interview with companies-all of which you could not get done if you went on vacation. Also, spring break, which usually takes place in March, gives college students a jump on the summer jobs over high school students, so why miss out on the opportunity?

I hope that this list of pros helps you to realize that going home is still a great destination for spring break!

Staying Connected

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As the new school year starts and students everywhere are moving into campus, I can’t help but notice all of the pictures posted on my social media news feed of sad goodbyes and tearful moments being shared between friends. Going away to college DOES mean that you’re separated from your good friends, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in touch and talk daily! Who knows, maybe you can even visit your friend’s school on a free weekend and explore what their campus has to offer. It’s normal to be sad that you’re parting from your friends and even a little bit scary. Plunging into the unknown leaves a lot of uncertainties like who you’re going to be living with, if you’re going to fit in, if you’re going to like the campus, etc. A good thing to remember is that you’re going to meet new people and friends that will fill that empty void you may feel initially. Your new friends won’t be your friends from home, but they’ll probably be just as awesome. Go into the experience with an open mind and you’ll be surprised how many people you meet just in your first day.

As for staying connected with your BFF from home, there’s tons of technological advancements brought to us with this ‘digital age’ that allows us to stay connected, regardless of distance. If you need some ideas on how to stay connected, here’s a few popular ways to send the love:

Skype– This one should be obvious but if it’s not, I’d definitely think about downloading Skype to your laptop or computer. Skype allows you to video chat with anyone of your choosing and is free to use. If you want to add more people to any given video chat or make phone calls from your computer, you can purchase minutes for Skype that allow you to do so. If you just want to video chat with one person, the free version is great. You can even have multiple people on one call (without video) for free as well.

ooVoo– This is like an alternative to Skype, but it’s totally free. You can have video chats with more than two people at a time, and still buy extra minutes and packages if need be. ooVoo is awesome because it’s also an instant messaging program that lets you chat with up to 12 friends in any given conversation! This program is a bit less commercial than Skype, but still works just as well.

FaceTime– For those of you with Iphone (or Apple) devices, take advantage of using the FaceTime feature in your data plan. This is like an on-the go way to stay connected through video chat with the people you love. A quick goodnight, good morning or just a catch up session with your parents or friends are made super easy with FaceTime; all conveniently located on your cellphone or laptop.

Social Media and Email– This one isn’t as good as a live face-to-face interaction or video chat, but you can still stay completely updated with your loved one’s statuses, photo updates and comments with one another. Just knowing what they’re up to and being able to share photos and thoughts of your day will make you feel closer even if you’re far away.

Calls/Texts– This one is most likely something you’re doing anyways, but it’s important not to forget to do it often! Many students start calling and texting a lot in the beginning of their college experience because they’re far away and not totally comfortable with their surroundings just yet. Then, once they get comfortable and situated with their new life on campus, they forget to reach out to their family and friends as much. A simple call to say hello here or a 5 minute call to Mom and Dad before bed letting them know you’re still surviving will go a long way.

Arm.. pillow? If you’re one of those people in a long distance relationship, you can try this “innovative” hug-pillow, thing. It’s supposed to serve as a hug from the person you’re missing so you can feel like they’re still with you. I’m not sure how you’d wash it or if its limb goes numb after hours of you laying on it, but if you need an extra cuddle companion to get you by, the hug pillow might be good for you.

Remember too, that along with college come seasonal breaks where you get to venture home for a few days. Holidays are included in this as well, so most of your friends will be back at home the same time you are. This gives you something to look forward to and keeps your friendship stable. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

Starting Over; A New You

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Moving away to a different state or getting that acceptance letter from college means that you have a fresh start to be a new you. You can choose to reinvent yourself in any way that you desire. Maybe you have goals to be healthier; join a gym and follow an exercise routine. Maybe you want to surround yourself with different people than you did before. Maybe you want to crack down on your studies and be that straight “A” student you always knew, but were too distracted, to be. Whatever it is now is your chance to make the changes you want to make to be a better you.

The first important thing to remember about this is not to lose the sense of who you are. If you made some mistakes in your past that you feel haunt you, forgive yourself for them and move on. You can’t change the past, but you can always prepare for a better future. That class you failed or that friendship that you left on the rocks doesn’t define you as a person. Sometimes, you need to step away from a situation long enough to get a clear perspective on things.

You often hear about people using New Years to make a “set resolution” or to have an excuse to be healthier or change something about their lives. As I admire their effort and motivation, you shouldn’t wait for an opportunity to better yourself. You can start to be a better you at any time. Resolutions and “new image” ideas often fade so change you for YOU and not to prove a point or meet a goal. If you’re moving to somewhere new, take in your surroundings and learn to appreciate the people around you. These people will be the backbone to your emotional support while you’re redefining yourself.

Most importantly, don’t forget about why you wanted a fresh start in the first place. After getting that refreshing new start in a new area with new people and new activities, it’s easy to get caught up in that feeling of “re-birth” that you forget why you came to this point in the first place. Don’t torment yourself about it, but remember what mistakes you made or what things you wanted to change about yourself to begin with and keep them in the back of your mind. This will humble you and allow you to forgive yourself. It’ll also allow you to let go of any pent up frustration that you had while you slowly see yourself becoming the person you set out to be.

College is a great way to get out of your normal surroundings and find “a new you”. You can meet new friends who can bring different aspects of their world to you. Since college has students from all around the world, you’ll get to meet new friends with different perspectives and interesting stories and ideas to bring to the table. This will shape you more as a person and allow you to encounter outside worldly experiences that you can’t necessarily experience in your small town back home. You’ll see that maybe the things you were worrying about happen to everyone, and that you’re not alone.

When you move into your new dorm and your parents drive away, remember that no one is expecting you to be anything. You aren’t pressured to fit a certain image or fill any shoes. Similar to you, other students are moving away from their homes and safe zones and trying to find who they are. So be friendly with everyone you meet, and learn a little bit from every experience. This is your time to grow and expand your mind, so don’t limit yourself to one category. You’ll change once, and then change again. Then, after a while you’ll change again. It’s all a part of growing up and learning to find who you are.

Dealing with the Helicopter Parent and College

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The school year will be wrapping up soon, and with college looming heavily in the distance for many young adults the struggle between parents and their students will be kicked into overdrive.

Even if you’re a graduating senior, preparing to begin your freshmen year in a few months there will be plenty of long discussions and arguments with your anxious, concerned parents to live through this summer, especially if your priorities don’t match up.

Just remember that you’re not alone, and that your parents are arguing with you because they care.

1)Pick your battles

A good night’s sleep will not make your argument disappear. Mom and Dad (and you for that matter) are not going to change their mind overnight. So you need to pick your priorities and choose to compromise on issues that aren’t as important to you. You don’t need to argue over your parents over every single detail. After all, does it really matter if you join honors society as long as you live in the residence hall you want to live in?

2) You have to deal with the Consequences

It may be easier to sit back and let Mom and Dad do everything for you, (especially if you know you’ll argue over everything) but it’s probably not the best idea. You are the one who will be living with these decisions. So if you let Mom take your math assessment online for you, it will be you who has to take the class that she gets you placed into; whether it’s calculus 2 or pre-calculus the class will be a waste of your time and your money if it isn’t the class you actually belong in.

3) Be Understanding

The reason your parents have become so overbearing lately it that they care about you. They don’t want you to suffer through the same miserable mistakes that they dealt with. They remember what it was like to be 17 and unsure of what you will do with the rest of your life. They want to help you. So don’t throw every decision and every argument in their face. Consult them, help them get involved in your decisions and explain to them why you want to do something. You’ll find that if they understand your reasoning they will often side with you.

Image: Duquesne university