New vices, old stomping grounds
December 5, 2019
Winter break: a month of freedom from being quarantined on campus, devoid of the classes or resume-padding internships that consume a college student’s life over summer. Finally, the ample time you’ve been waiting for to spend with old friends and/or significant other is here, but there’s just one problem: Where do you go?
While scholastic and extracurricular obligations may go away for a bit, so does your personal sovereignty. Sheer bliss and relief of being outside the authority of autocratic professors, teaching assistants or resident advisers dissipates immediately as you realize it is time to contend with the real tyrants — your parents.
The intoxicating independence of living unsupervised in an apartment or Greek house is quickly gone as you must find a balance between abiding by your parent’s rules and standing firm in the face of their impending inquisition into your liberty and free-will.
Self-polluting habits or activities normalized at school which you’ve been accustomed to doing on a whim now have to be done discretely, because it’s likely your parents disapprove of them altogether, especially on their turf. This doesn’t mean you have to fully relinquish your autonomy, but this temporary living arrangement can prompt awkward conversations and situations.
If you’re considering the prospect of bringing that special someone home to meet the folks, do you know what your parents’ stance would be on them staying over with you in your room? Would they insist they sleep in the guest room? For those who are single, or what Emma Watson prefers to call “self-partnered,” is your home and childhood bedroom suitable places to bring a stranger you met upon redownloading Tinder, J-Swipe in the North Shore, Bumble or Hinge?
If you’ve been successful thus far in concealing your recently acquired nicotine fix and one of the despots that raised you comes across a few empty Juul pods in the trash, what’s your story? It is vital to either have preliminary discussions with your parents about their attitudes towards drinking, vaping and sleeping arrangements or bring up anecdotes about a made-up “friend” and their family to gauge how your parents respond and go from there. Because it is not only your parents you need to keep in mind, but also younger siblings if you have them.
It simply isn’t feasible to recreate your college living environment around kids still in elementary school. You can’t risk the potential consequences of an 11-year-old roaming around a kitchen with the fridge stocked with White Claw variety packs.
If this is the case, that one kid from high school whose house was always open for people to throw parties at is a valuable resource to utilize, so be sure to stay on their good side. In the end, all you can do is be mindful of your own circumstances at home, understand the people you’re dealing with and make the best use of resources at your disposal. That way, you can make this winter break as enjoyable as possible before you have to start taking school seriously spring semester.
Noah is a junior in Business.