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Coming Home from College: 6 Things Parents Can Expect

It’s such an exciting time of year! College freshman from all over the country will soon be heading home for Thanksgiving break. It’s possibly the first time they’ve been home since August.

So while your freshman is desperately trying to wrap up their assignments, tidy up their dorm room and get packed, they’re dreaming about everything they’re going to do when they get home.

What to Expect When Your College Freshman Comes Home:

Here are a few things your “thankful” college freshman will do when they come home for Thanksgiving or winter break.

1. Hug the refrigerator.

Within minutes of walking in the door, your college freshman will be at the fridge, staring at the mountain of readily available food. Have your camera ready! The same look they had on their face when they saw their first Christmas tree will be the same look they’ll have on their face when they open the refrigerator. After sharing a mini fridge with a roommate who steals their food and doesn’t admit it, your teen will be ecstatic they don’t have to trek across campus just to grab a decent snack.

2. Expect you to cook all their favorite meals.

For the past three months your teen has been living off microwave macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and Ramen noodles. They want real food! Chances are you’ll be asked to make every single home-cooked meal they’ve been dreaming about since the day they left for college. By the time Thanksgiving break is over, you’ll be exhausted from cooking, and your refrigerator will be empty with nothing to show for your efforts.

3. Climb in bed and sleep for hours.

If you had to sleep in a bed that had the comfort rating of the back of an old pickup truck, you’d sleep for fifteen hours too! College freshman desperately miss their own bed, their own room, and their own space. Put them to bed, shut their bedroom door, and let them enjoy as many luxurious hours of sleep as they need while visions of home-made waffles dance in their head.

4. Get in the car and drive.

It’s been a long three months and a huge adjustment, especially if your teen didn’t have access to a car. One of the biggest college life adjustments is having absolutely no escape from the confines of a college campus. Sure, they’ve had their fair share of fun. But for the last three months, they’ve been restricted to a space that started out as intimidating but now has become a well-traveled piece of property. When Thanksgiving break rolls around, they will be ready to break free and just go! Fill the car with gas, hand over the car keys, and go to bed. They’ll come back… eventually.

5. Visit their friends.

So many stories to tell, so many memories to share—most likely ones they would never tell us! Your teen can’t wait to come home and tell their high school friends everything that’s happened at college since they arrived. So don’t freak out when your college freshman tells you about all the plans they’ve made with their friends. Steal as many precious hours as you can and remember they’re feeling the pressure of juggling family and friends. Don’t push too much and don’t worry, they’ll be back soon enough for the food!

6. Come to the realization that you’re pretty darn awesome.

If everything you did for your teen during their childhood seemed to go unnoticed and underappreciated, that’s all about to change! They’ve been away from home for several months and have had to do everything on their own. They’ve come to appreciate you a lot since that tearful college drop-off. Expect some warm hugs and heartfelt conversations that you never thought possible and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. It took a while, but they finally figured it out…you really are pretty darn awesome!

Nancy is a professional writer, public relations strategist and parent & teen advocate. Her award-winning website, Raising Teens Today, is a culmination of everything she loves – writing, living life passionately, and mostly, being a mom of teenagers. Find her on Facebook or on Twitter @HonestTeenTalk

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