You know you’re home when…
The tell tale signs that, like a homing pigeon, you have returned to the place of your origins
You eat regular meals again
Having an actual, proper hot meal served up to you EVERY NIGHT is a luxury long-forgotten at uni. Gone are the days of eating random concoctions at 11pm (five rounds of toast, half a jar of sweetcorn and a Twirl is, in fact, a substitute for a meal), at home you have REAL food at NORMAL dinner time once again. Weird.
Whilst your body is most definitely thanking you for providing it with the nutrients it’s been craving for the past eight weeks (shout out to mum’s home cooking), you kinda miss the spontaneity of your uni diet, the excitement of not knowing when and where your next meal is coming from, the thrilling sense of fear you get as you eat chicken "cooked" in your dodgy gyp…
You wash your clothes…
…like, before they stink. If you’re anything like me, at uni your clothes are washed very – shall we say – exclusively. As in, by the time they finally see the washing machine they have absorbed five days worth of sweat, are covered in the residue of at least four meals (hey, good for snacking) and are now attracting wild maggots.
At home, it’s a whooole new story. Thanks to the resumption of mum’s laundry service, clothes are now washed AFTER ONE WEAR and even ironed (!!!) from time to time. Contrary to releasing an odour that slightly resembles a rotting corpse, back home you smell of jasmine and lavender on the reg. Luxury.
You’re not ill
At uni everyone is just ill. Like all the time. And once you get ill that seems to be it, you never get better, you just learn to accept this new lower quality of health. In fact, by the time Week 8 rolls round, a hacking cough has become one of your most distinct character traits.
Back home, however, your body actually has the chance to heal itself and BOOM. Wellness. Being in fit health is a privilege that you had long forgotten about, and although it feels good (like, really good), you kinda miss the camaraderie of slowly dying of freshers' flu alongside all your pals…nothing back home gives you that same sense of pure solidarity and team spirit.
You only go out at the weekend
Forget saying goodbye to your friends and your independence, saying goodbye to weekday nights out is the thing that hurt the most about leaving uni. Back home (in my town at least) people ONLY go out on a Friday and Saturday night.
That means no more Wednesday Cindies to help you through those midweek blues, no more Sunday Life to round off the weekend in style (by style I mean being slightly crushed on a dancefloor whilst dancing to bad 90s pop music. Obviously). Now you have to wait ALL WEEK to go and party. This is quite literally the stuff of nightmares.
You have to wash your pots
At uni, the washing up is done as and when you please. Rushing too much to wash your breakfast pots in the morning? Totally cool. Too full up with pasta to wash your bowl after tea? Don’t sweat it. Want to leave your pan to "soak" for a few hours (ok, days) in the sink after cooking in it? Go ahead.
Back home, EVERYTHING changes. Immediately after eating, EVERY plate and utensil deployed must be washed, dried, and put away within five minutes, or your parents quite literally go into meltdown.
And gone are the days where having a 15 day-old mug in your bedroom that’s crusted over with coffee residue is a perfectly acceptable practice, now such behaviour is met with disapproving looks and an angry "you have no respect for this house" and "you’re disgusting". Hard times.
Basically, you know you’re home when your life resembles that of a normal person once again. And whilst it’s lovely to catch up with friends and family over Christmas, before you know it you’ll be desperate to return to your former malnourished, stinky, exhausted, unhygienic self…
… roll on Lent term.