While for some winter break is a time to feel rejuvenated and refreshed after a difficult semester, for others it is the complete opposite. Not everyone has a great relationship with their family. Not everyone can retreat to his or her home. Extended breaks from school can actually be an incredibly testing and difficult time period.
So here are some truths for those of you reading this who find yourselves achingly waiting to return to your dorm room.
You are not alone, and it is normal to want to be in the environment you feel most comfortable in.
Often, life at college is drastically different from life separate from college. It’s going to feel different because it IS different.
You’re allowed to miss the freedom that being at college brings. If you’re feeling restricted at home, find comfort in the fact that you will return to that freedom soon.
Your worth is NOT attached to your family or community member’s opinions of you.
Your home life or living situation is going to look different from everyone else’s, and that’s okay.
You will make it through this season, even if it seems more difficult and stressful for you than for some of your friends. Sometimes things feel so out of your control that it is hard to get out of your own head. I’m not going to lie, it takes actual work and action to change your perspective and feelings about being away from school.
Here are a few ways that you can regain that feeling of control:
- Allow yourself a moment every day to relax. Even if it is just for a few minutes, find two to three things that you’re grateful to have. This could be as simple as the roof over your head, your best friend or dry clothes to wear.
- Remind yourself of what makes you strong. Write down a few positive truths about yourself that are independent from your environment or situation. Reminding yourself of your individuality can help you feel more grounded if you are overwhelmed.
- Change the environment you are in. If possible, get out of the house (responsibly!). Weather permitting, go for a walk through nature. Grab your mask and hand sanitizer and read a book at a local cafe. If you are able, you can even make arrangements to live with friends for a period of time.
Life will always force us to adjust to whatever situation we find ourselves in. The transitions aren’t always seamless, and the changes are almost never comfortable. The most we can do is be gentle with ourselves and extend grace to those around us as we figure out how to live as well as possible. At the end of the day, we’ll all be back on campus sooner than we know, and it’ll be waiting for all of us with open arms.