Home: Not for the Faint of Heart. Preparing for the Visit Home

17 Nov

The weather is getting cooler and our attire more conservative, but there is something more SPECIAL to this time of year.

que

As a college student you may have adjusted to individuality and freedom already or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you still call home four times a day, including a goodnight call to mom every night before bed. That was me freshman year, honestly, the goodnight call girl.

call

Point of story is not my personal calling habits, but the fact that whatever type of bond we have with our families, we can’t escape the inescapable: holidays.

If you foresee a trip home in your near future, let me walk you through my process of preparing (mentally, physically, and emotionally) for such an undertaking of numerous proportions! This, my friends, can be more challenging than any chemistry exam you’ll ever encounter or as uneventful as watching paint dry.

1. Deciding to go home.

For some of us, the decision to visit home is no longer a decision. It is an EXPECTATION of us! If you’re one of the ones who still has the decision in your hands, let’s ponder about going home.

First, is the trip attainable at this point in time? Some of you may be from out of state and the travel home may be an adventure in itself. Remember to factor in details such as cost, time, and willingness to consume that time and money. If you have the resources, and are willing to expend them, you are one step closer to begin the prep to go home. Personally, seeing my family is something that I would do anything for, especially during the holidays.

pinched-cheeks

Another factor to take into consideration is, can you handle it? Some families can be pretty extreme in terms of interactions. The adorable granny who pinches your cheeks until they turn red does not care that you’re an ADULT now.

Or, how about the little brother who loves to disturb your peace just to get a kick out of it? Whatever your test of patience is back home, make sure you’re at a point in life where you can handle it! There’s nothing worse than going home when the stress of the world is on you, and you know more stress is to come to you in one form or another, usually unintentionally. However, for some, going home when stress is present is the best medicine.

2. Let the preparation begin.

If you don’t know where to start, maybe a list will help!

Outreach Facilitator Lauren creates lists as a reminder about which things to pack:

“I put a sticky note with a list of to-do things before going home in my pocket and carry it until I have finished the list. When I reach in my pocket, I’ll always be reminded I have something to complete!”

 Clothing: If you know the amount of time you will spend there, this can be the most beneficial. Make sure to pack clothing accordingly. Have enough undies to last you the time you’re there or until you decide to do laundry.

Also, remember, out of state students: Tucson is one of those weird locations where winter barely starts catching up at the beginning of December. Even then, our winter is a subtle comparison to other parts of the country, so don’t forget to pack accordingly.

cold

Do as one of your Outreach Facilitators, Veronica, does: “Start packing days before!”

Academics: If possible, make sure to take care of all your academic responsibilities before going home. This will help minimize stress when at home and gives you time to interact with your loved ones. It might not be possible to totally forget about your academics, so if that is the case, take the necessary materials to complete those assignments.

If you have the opportunity, however, do as Outreach Facilitator Jocelin does and “completely discard all academic thoughts from your mind” so as to really enjoy being home!

Other important details to keep in mind: Make sure, if you are heading home, to take care of everything logistical here first. If possible, pay off all of your bills ahead of time so you don’t forget and end up with late fees upon returning to Tucson. Clean your living space so as to avoid coming back to a cluttered area and stressing out about it later!

Also, keep in mind the schedule of your loved ones. It might happen that when you head home they might be occupied with their own lives. It happens when you’re a living human being! Make sure to plan, and be understanding of the possibility that your time and their time might not be compatible 100% of the time. Plan to keep yourself entertained.

Lastly, your family’s opinions and points of view on things might not meet eye to eye with yours. Being in college has the power to shape you, and you may not hold the same views you once did. Make sure to accommodate for that when you converse with your family members. Tolerance and patience are key to a successful interaction.

Now that the basics are covered, let me share my prep routine with you. Some steps might sound very familiar.

 1. For starters, I make sure I can get my booty to my destination.

catturtle

This usually involves arranging a car ride home with friends, or my parents. With no car, it can get a bit tricky.

2. I plan out and pack the outfits I will need and want. Even if just going home, looking good is still important. Don’t let your parents see that you have become a total bum while in college. They might worry!

giphy

3. Dirty laundry! Going home is a great opportunity for free laundry. Enough said.

4. Will I need to take books and the whole academic weaponry? If possible, I will complete assignments before going home, just so I can really have that downtime to relax and reconnect with my family. If it’s not possible, another luggage bag must be packed with my books and homework items. I’ll be honest, though, sometimes those items just go for the ride.

5. If my visit is during the holidays, like Thanksgiving for example, I take two actions: first, I will avoid consuming massive amounts of food a couple of days prior to visiting. I do this to assure that my appetite while home will be up to par with my mother’s massive home-cooked meals. Yes, sounds greedy and unhealthy, but let’s keep it real. Holidays bring the best meals of the year! Secondly, if you are all about those home-cooked meals and wish to bring that piece of home back… tupperware is a must! Pack it in its own luggage bag if necessary. Free food is free food, and what best free food than food from home!

6. Now in terms of mentally preparing, I must prepare myself into the idea of going home. No, it’s not that I don’t love my family… it’s just sometimes they can be a bit overboard and I can be bit impatient with them.

liz-lemon-oh-brother

For example, I can expect the multitude of questions from my mother about my life or the tiny arguments between my brother and I. Whatever it might be, I prepare by looking at the important aspect: going home and spending time with them even if they can get on my nerves. Keep reminding yourself: love can be expressed in different ways.

love

Of course, many more factors go into prepping for going home, but these are the basics. Whether you are going home far or near, preparing is the best way to make sure that you set yourself up for a successful home visit!

Wishing you all the best in your visits home this holiday!

 

– Lucero Pesqueira

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