By the time the end of the school year came around, we could not wait to get back home into our comfy beds and to eat our moms’ home-cooked meals. We were exhausted from finals week, had run out of clean socks, and were ready to escape from that noisy neighbor who made it a point to turn their music up louder and louder every day.
As we approach the seventh week of summer vacation, however, we are already counting down the days until we’re back on campus. Here’s why:
- No one cares how your room looks at college.
In your dorm room, your clothes pile up on the floor, there are at least five expired yogurt containers in the fridge, and a layer of dust covers every single surface. However, we’re too busy to care. At home, someone is always monitoring the cleanliness of our room. “ERIN, PUT YOUR CLOTHES AWAY. YOUR DESK HAS MAKEUP ALL OVER IT. HOW HAVE YOU STILL NOT UNPACKED FROM LAST SEMESTER?” I’ve been hearing phrases like this for the past seven weeks. I’m fine with my messy room, thank you very much.
- You’re sick of having to prepare your own meals.
Gone are the days when a dining hall was only a short walk away, with freshly grilled burgers, cut vegetables for salad making, and an assortment of ice cream flavors with the best toppings. Now, when we want to eat, we have to go to the fridge, cut and clean the vegetables ourselves, grill the burger, and even milk the cow to make the ice cream. (Okay, that was a little extreme, but preparing food is hard work!) While dining hall food is nowhere near five-star dining, it beats all the effort that goes into a subpar meal. That’s why we’ve been eating so much cereal this summer.
- You probably still have a curfew.
At least in my house, my parents have still set a curfew for me. They say it’s because my dog wakes up the entire house when I come home, but deep down I know it’s because they’re always concerned with where I am and my safety, as any good parent is. I tried to pull the card where I groaned about being an adult and living on my own now. (Hint: if you’re thinking of doing this, just save yourself some trouble and DON’T.)
- You can’t see your friends whenever you want.
Most of our friends at home have summer jobs, internships, and family vacations planned in advance, so it’s hard to find a time where everyone can get together, and not everyone is free at exactly the second you want them to be. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to text my friends about five seconds before I want to go out and them being prepared right then and there. Planning is such a hassle.
- You have to tell everyone where you’re going and what you’re doing.
At college, you really don’t have anyone to report to, except for that weekly call that you make to your mother, because you promised her. You can come and go as you please without letting anyone know where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing there. Again, I know it’s a parent’s responsibility to know where you are at all times, but if I want to go and get myself an ice cream cone for the fourth time this week, do I really have to tell you?
- You actually have to pay for stuff with real money.
The first week I was home from college for the summer, I pulled out my student ID at restaurants almost every time I went out, thinking that my card doubled as cash. Football games are included, classes at the gym are free, and money is preloaded onto your ID at school, so that you rarely have to pull out your own money. Here at home, they won’t except “Bobcat Cash,” in which I respond to the cashier, “Why the hell not?!”
- You can’t set your own schedule.
With a part-time job, internship, and chores listed for you the second you walk in the door, there isn’t much time left to hang out with friends, enjoy a run in the park, or take a three hour nap. At college, you can put down your homework and assignments and do whatever you want. You can wake up at 11:00 a.m. for an 11:30 class. You can go to sleep at 3:00 a.m. and still be fine for class the next day. And there is certainly no list of chores (although I continue to avoid that at home until my mom notices anyways).
While we definitely love being at home with family and friends, there is that certain excitement in all of us to get back to our college campuses. We cannot wait to be reunited with friends, set our own agendas, and get all of the ice cream in the dining hall that we desire. For now though, try to relax, because by the time the next semester is over, we’ll be ready to pull our hair out and return home for winter break. The cycle really is infinite, isn’t it?