Breaks in college may be some of the most educational times during the year.
Granted, I am only a freshman, naïve and inexperienced, but this may be one of the most educated statements I have made right up there with my Sociology theses and the conclusions I made during the blue book exam for Environmental Studies. Winter break was not only relaxing, therapeutic, and generally stress free, but also a time to learn what has changed and what has not.
For instance, I am still my parents’ kid, sure, but that means something new now– the dynamic has changed. Before I moved to Wofford, occupying a room on the top floor of the infamous Marsh building, my parents had a hand in controlling my time, teaching me lessons, and fighting my battles when necessary. They can’t really do those things any more and, even more novel to us, I don’t need them to.
This is not to say I don’t need my parents any more nor that college breaks the final strands of the theoretical umbilical cord we have all been told about. Quite the contrary actually; we still really need our parents, just in a different role. Before, they acted as our drivers (literally and figuratively), using their knowledge of the rules of the road and experience to steer us on the right path, wherever that was; now they are our passengers, reminding us to slow down or to put our blinkers on before leaving our parallel parking spot. Sure, sometimes they may be backseat drivers and it may seem they don’t have faith in our driving or that they taught us the wrong manual, but they are trying to figure this out just like us.
Extended metaphors aside, family is very important at this point in our lives. Going home may feel different (now we pack bags to visit where we grew up and calling it ‘home’ feels off) but in a transient lifestyle, we need a rock or two to keep us centered. Mine are my parents and my little sister, the latter of which has taken over my old room, which I let slide because she is so darn cute.
The things that haven’t changed are just as important as those that did. Our parents still love us, even though we don’t see them daily nor call them nearly enough. “The juniors” are now seniors at our respective high schools and going through the exact stresses we felt during our college searches. The hometown restaurants still serve the same burgers or chicken fingers as they used to, though they taste sweeter months removed from eating them all the time.
Breaks are sentimental, relaxing and also educational. Maybe as a new college student, any experience seems to be of the learning variety, but that’s the beauty of this stage in life– it is all about the lessons, not the grades, the journey not the destination.