After spending four months solidly within the Wesleyan bubble, going home for six weeks can be a bit of a shock. Suddenly you are “under your parents’ roof, young lady!” again, and everything changes. The Argus is here to remind you what to expect from your impending stay at home.
For all its flaws, Wesleyan is still more progressive and politically correct than most of the country. Outside of more liberal college settings, not many people are familiar with gender-neutral pronouns, the deconstruction of able-ist language, and oppressive patriarchal structures. Returning home can take some readjustment as you realize that people seriously still say, “That’s so gay” in a derogatory way. Prepare to get blank stares when you talk about how gender is a spectrum, especially if your family members use phrases like “Boys will be boys!” Freak out your more conservative relatives, pick your battles, and change some minds (or try at least)—odds are you’ll be a bit relieved when you step back on campus.
Unless you live in a one-room double or triple, you can come and go from your dorm room at all hours without anybody noticing or caring. At home, you’ll probably have parents checking in, asking you when you’ll be home and who you’re with. Not coming home at night will no longer earn you high-fives at brunch but a stern scolding. Be sure to stomp your feet, slam your door, and whine about how they don’t need to manage you because you’re an adult.
When you leave campus, you may realize that it’s not quite typical to drink heavily three or four nights a week. For the rest of the world, Wednesday is hump day, not bar night, and Thursdays aren’t any thirstier than any other day of the week. On the plus side, being home for the holidays offers plenty of opportunities for eggnog, spiked cider, and peppermint schnapps hot chocolate. At the very least, you can take winter break to repair your liver, bring your tolerance back down a bit, and replenish your supply of solo cups.
Travel by Foot
At a small school like Wesleyan, you can hardly walk 15 minutes without hitting the edge of campus. At home, you’ll actually have to get in a car (those big metal things with wheels and gas tanks) or deal with slow-moving public transit in order to get somewhere. Campuses offer food, shelter, entertainment, and friends, all easily within walking distance. When you’re stuck at home without transportation or a designated driver, you’ll be missing your days of foot travel at Wes.
If you live in a small town like I do, you won’t worry too much about a lack of transportation because nothing stays open past 9 p.m. anyway. As you’re driving around your hometown in a desperate and fruitless search for a late-night meal, you’ll miss easily accessible grilled cheese, falafel, and sweet potato fries.
After spending a semester immersed in your Wesleyan life, returning home to your high school friends can feel like you’re in a time warp. Especially if you haven’t kept in touch, get-togethers can turn into a repetitive rehashing of inside jokes from senior year. And explaining just why it was so funny that kid from your class did that thing on Friday somehow doesn’t translate when you have to take three steps back to explain who the kid is and end up muttering “I guess you had to be there…” Take the time to catch up, hear about the weird things that students do at other schools, and remind yourself why you’re lucky to be returning back to Wesleyan in January.