Congratulations, you’ve officially made it through the fall 2012 semester! Time for some much deserved R&R with family and friends during the break. If your family lives in the Greater New Orleans area, you have probably been back and forth on several occasions to do laundry, eat a home-cooked meal, or just touch base over a cup of coffee. If you live further away, the winter holidays might be your first trip home for the year.
Going home for the holidays can initially be filled with great expectations and a little anxiety. You might believe that you have changed dramatically in your time at Loyola and wonder what your family will think of the “new you.” In some ways, Loyola might feel more like “home” to you. This is absolutely normal and signals your shift toward independence and adult living.
Don’t be surprised if you notice that your family and friends “back home” have also changed since you’ve been away. You have probably heard the talk time and time again about how college changes the student; however, it is also a time of transition for your loved ones.
Here are a few tips to cope with the holiday trip home:
- Holidays can be both joyful and stressful. If you notice yourself feeling the “holiday blues” think about your expectations for returning home and put things back into realistic perspective. Consider recording a “home for the holidays” playlist to assist with relaxation.
- Try pre-planning your trip. By setting a loosely structured schedule, you can more easily make time for friends and family.
- Make time for rest and self-care. You are likely to feel exhausted after final exams but still want to visit with everyone back home. Plan your time to include sleep, exercise, and relaxation.
- Talk openly with your parents about household rules. Discuss curfews, chores/upkeep, and be open to compromise.
- Keep in contact with your friends from Loyola. Make a few phone calls, Skype, or send email/text messages. You’ll be happy to pick up where you left off when you return to campus in January.
- Volunteer. Remembering the Jesuit ideals of compassion and dignity this holiday season and giving of your time and energy to assist in the lives of others will leave you feeling a sense of renewal and motivation for the spring semester.
So, here’s to you and making the most of your time over the holidays. Enjoy and we’ll see you next year!
Alicia A. Bourque, Ph.D.
Director, Counseling & Health Services
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