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20Dec
December 20th, 2012,
winter vacation

By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager

Winter break is a highlight of the college student year. For anywhere from 2-4 weeks (depending on your college), you get to sleep in your own bed, do laundry whenever you feel like it, eat real food, and reunite with friends and family.

Don’t be too surprised or disappointed, though, if you go home and things are a little different than you remember. You may not realize it, but while you’ve been away, you’ve probably changed and grown as a person, and so have the people back home. You want your holiday visit to go smoothly, so mentally prepare yourself that things may not be exactly as you remember them when you get home.

College Students: Here’s What May Be Different Over Winter Break

Your Parents Redid Your Room
You may have a picture in your mind of your bedroom at home being exactly how you left it when you headed off to college. Don’t be surprised if your parents made a few “additions” while you were gone. This could be something small – like adding a work desk or an exercise bike – or it could be something big, like turning your room into a yoga studio. Hopefully your parents discussed this with you before they made any changes, but just be mentally prepared to enter your old space and find it being used in a brand new way. If you’re really upset about it, it’s ok to mention it to get it off your chest, but then let it go. Remember, you have a whole new room of your own on your college campus.

Your Social Group Has Shifted
When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to get home and see all of my high school friends. But sometimes, I’d meet my former BFFs for lunch or dinner … only to find that we had all changed so much in the past few months that we weren’t on the same page anymore.

I’m not saying this to depress you. In fact, it’s actually good thing. College is a time when you, as a student and as a young adult, grow and explore all kinds of new things. Not having anything in common with high school friends anymore doesn’t mean you can’t value the friendship for what it was; you just have to recognize that you have become new people.

This may not be the case with your friend group, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind, just in case you do find your friendships aren’t quite what you remember.

Your High School Girlfriend/Boyfriend Wants to Take a Break
I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count. One half of a couple can’t wait to reunite over the holidays, while the other party has decided that this is the best time to end things face-to-face. Again, this is tough, but it’s also totally normal. Long-term, long-distance relationships are under a lot of pressure, especially when you’re at different college campuses. You’re both growing into new people and starting new lives, and not all relationships can survive those changes. As I mentioned above, it’s not anyone’s fault; it’s just a part of the changes that come with being in college.

You Can’t Wait to Get Back to College
Maybe you’ve been dreaming about going home for months and months … only to find that now that you’re home, you can’t wait to get back to your dorm and all of your new friends. Again, don’t stress: this is normal. It’s a sign that you’re creating your own life as an adult. So enjoy the time you have with your family, and keep in mind that winter break will be over before you know it.

Again, you may or may not notice these kinds of changes when you head home for winter break. Or maybe you won’t notice them until spring break or summer vacation. Regardless, it’s a good idea to be ready just in case things are different, and to not view these changes as a negative thing. On the contrary, as I mentioned above, these changes are just signs that you’re establishing your own life and becoming more of your own person – and that can only bring about good things in the future.

Did you notice that things seemed different when you went home for winter break? Let us know in the comments below!