Guest Post
by  Garrick Gibson

Maintaining a Healthy Home Life During Winter Break

Going away to college means acquiring a new found sense of independence, and being able to call your own shots for many college students. You no longer have to check in with you family about your comings and goings. It means you’re an adult now and are responsible for yourself. This new found freedom can be a challenge for both students and parents. At the end of every fall semester, after you’ve finally made it past those dreaded final exams, comes the much the anticipated winter break. This can sometimes be bittersweet, because as much as you need a mental break from college, you don’t want to take a break from your independence when you return home.

Here are some suggestions to help reduce the stress, and keep your independence intact as much as possible.

Level set expectations from the get go

Parents often have a different set of expectations for winter break than you do. Be sure to let your family know when you will be arriving home, and when you will be heading back to school. This is especially important if you will be catching a ride with friends. Whether you plan to stick around home, or go out a lot – let them know in advance. There should be a balance between spending time with you family and hanging out with friends. Failing to do so often creates animosity between family members. Make a plan to spend quality time with your family, and discuss it with them.

Don’t treat your house like a hotel

Having your own place, living in a dorm room or apartment officially makes you a guest when you return home from college. As a guest, you should respect the household by adhering to the family rules. You may not be able to come in at 4 a.m. in the morning like you did at the house parties in college. Find an agreeable time with your family for you to come in at night, or arrange to spend the night at a friend’s house – so you don’t disturb the household. Another aspect of respecting the household is cleaning-up behind yourself. Especially in your old bedroom and the bathroom. You may have picked up a few bad habits while you were away, however, it’s important to temporarily leave those habits back in college while visiting your family.

Contribute to the household duties

After completing a hard semester at college, many students feel that they shouldn’t have to work much while they are on winter break. Don’t let this keep you from being a contributor. Avoid waiting for your parents to ask you to help out around the house. If there are chores you used to do before you left for college, don’t hesitate to jump back in, and resume your old routine, whenever possible. Ask your parents if there are any special projects they need help with around the house. If preparing a big meal is a traditional part of the holidays for your family, pitch in with the cooking, or more importantly help with the cleanup.

About the author:

Garrick Gibson is the co-founder and writer at HBCU Lifestyle is a blog that was partly inspired by Garrick sending his oldest son to college. His experience helped uncover a wealth of information and resources to share with college students and parents.