Travelling home for the holidays changes as you progress through your college career.
It’s always good to see your family, drama and fights aside; but it does seem to become more of a task than a break, and the term home fits less and less every year that passes.
Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to sit on the couch in the living room I grew up in. Helping my mom cook brings back old memories, and especially with breaks that revolve around holidays, I love the traditions that I did throughout my childhood.
Getting a Christmas tree and decorating it is a staple in my household, and it brings a smile to my face when I get to continue doing them. Even down to the detail of holding the lights while my sister strings them onto the tree, those are just the roles that we always had when decorating.
As much as we try to continue traditions, in order to keep the past alive, it seems every holiday that comes has changed in some fundamental way.
One of the biggest changes is how I feel about ‘home’. Like I said, it’s nice to sit in my old living room, but it doesn’t quite seem like home.
My first two years of college I couldn’t wait to pack up and ditch Pocatello for a week or so. I loved the drive to Boise, and dreaded heading back the other way.
But the longer that I stay in Pocatello the more I build up my own life here.
The third time I drove home for Christmas break, I still had the feeling I was going home but was excited to get back to ‘my place’.
My room in the Bengal Creek apartments wasn’t home, but that’s where my friends were. That’s where I was used to spending the majority of my time.
This fourth year has seen an even further shift on the scale. I still rent, but it’s my own apartment. I don’t have roommates and I have an entire apartment, not just a room to claim while sharing the rest of the house.
The longer I stay there and the more memories I make, no matter how small, makes it feel more and more like my home.
While it doesn’t change my excitement to go visit ‘home’, it does how I feel about leaving it. Because that’s just it, I’m visiting. It’s nice for a while, but you don’t feel quite comfortable. That’s how you know that you’re not home.
More of the changes that you realize about holidays as you grow up and stay further away from where you grew up is that you begin to feel breaks aren’t even that relaxing.
When you spend longer away from your family, it puts even more pressure on the times that you do return. If you haven’t been home in twice as long, but have the same amount of time for break, than there is an expectation that you have to make up for that extra time; so you some how have to make that happen. Which is exhausting.
A seven day break can be even more planned and scheduled than finals week. You need to see mom, dad and friends; maybe even grandma. Plan on at least one full day per family member you have to visit. Then you have to consider that a holiday is probably the reason you are on break. You have to get ready for relatives, whether you’re hosting or visiting, and then make up for all the time that you missed together. There are the rest of the family traditions that I talked about earlier as well. Black Friday shopping and decorating the tree are things that you almost have to do. All in all, you are probably only going to get one day of actual break time when on a holiday break and that takes a toll on the sense of ‘home’. Once it feels like a chore, I think it’s pretty safe to say you are past the breaking point. Welcome to the adult world, full of wonders and chaos.