Georgia Watson and Riona Stewart consider the advantages and disadvantages of going home for the summer.
Going home for the summer can be a much needed break after exams. Here are some of the best things about leaving uni life behind for a few months to go back to your hometown.
Rekindling Old Friendships
Growing apart from your friends from home can be one of the worst parts about going to university. Catching up with them over the summer can be a much needed reminder of the good times you shared together during school. Who doesn’t love finding out all the gossip about what the people you went to school with are up to now?
Catching Up With Your Family
Living away from home during term time helps to remind us how much we appreciate our families when we go back to see them. Sometimes there is nothing better than a Saturday night in spent watching The Voice with your parents. For those of us with siblings, growing older means less fighting and more friendship. Having them around the house means that there will always be someone to hang out with, even if they do get on your nerves from time to time.
Escaping The City Air
For those of us who aren’t used to the city life, going home helps us to take a break from the polluted city air. Feeling safe enough to go for walks alone in the woods is one of the best parts about going home to a small town. Having a dog to go home to is also a bonus for when it comes to going for walks.
Scrounging Off Your Parents
Although going home for summer means for most of us that we end up begrudging paying rent for an empty room, it also means we end up saving money on food and other essentials we can mooch off our parents for. There is nothing better than coming home to a fridge full of food after living off ramen for three months. Also, not having to spend money on washing means we can do a wash more than once every two weeks!
Skipping on a TV licence can help to save your bank account, but it can also mean missing out on all the fun of mindlessly sitting in front of a TV all day. Whether it’s reality TV or dramatic soap operas, there is no better way to let a day pass.
So, you’ve survived exam season, and the year of essay deadlines and 9am lectures, and are looking to treat yourself with a three month long existential crisis. Excellent idea! All you must do is pack up and head off to spend summer break in the small town you originally came to uni to escape from. In my case, this means hitching a ride back to a dilapidated highland hellhole, cut off from the rest of the world by tree covered mountains. Think Twin Peaks minus the atmospheric charm and eccentric residents.
At first, the loss of independence as you revert to the role of child within the family home may seem like a welcome change. The sense of relief gained from relinquishing responsibility for paying the electricity bill is not substantial enough to stave off the inevitable existential crisis for long. Sometime around the beginning of the second week, you will begin to resent the fact that this loss of independence means that your parents are free to severely chastise various aspects of your life. It was at this point last year that I felt I had experienced my fill of ‘rest and recuperation’ and was ready to venture outside of the house. I then remembered the reason most people leave in the first place is because there are absolutely no jobs available and nothing to do apart from tan litre bottles of lukewarm Strongbow round the back of the church hall: cue beginning of existential crisis.
One well known feature of small towns is that everyone knows everyone, although some of my home friends had had the foresight to secure summer jobs or internships in the various cities they had fled to after high school. Many who go off to university in the city quickly adapt to their vibrant new setting and thrive off the seemingly endless possibilities and relative anonymity urban dwelling has to offer. By the time they go home, they will not be the same person as when they left, and becoming reacquainted with the limitations of small town living can be a jarring and isolating experience.
It is said that, ‘home is where the heart is,’ and by the end of the academic year yours is not likely to still be in the dead-end town where you grew up. It is with your new friends, the gigs, poetry slams, galleries, cocktail bars, night clubs, open-minded attitudes, and ordering of Dominoes at 2am. Three months of living in limbo in a place you no longer, or perhaps feel you never did, belong while waiting for life to start again is not good for the soul. My advice would be to avoid unnecessary existential crises, and instead to channel your time and energy into continuing to develop the person you’ve been becoming since moving away. It’s important to keep the momentum going and move forward rather than pausing and running the risk of being pulled back.