The most stressful things about going home for the weekend

It’s really not that relaxing


We’re a few weeks into term, but summative season and all the stress that comes with it hasn’t yet hit, what better time to take a break from the uni bubble and retreat to the green grass of home for a few days? Be warned before you commit to a weekend at home though; there are all kinds of perils to this seemingly innocuous trip.

Trains

There’s little as frustrating as sweatily lugging your unreasonably large suitcase full of washing up to the station, to find your train cancelled. The only thing that matches it is that heart pounding taxi ride (because last minute packing took longer than calculated) that gets you to the station just in time to see your train chugging away from the platform.

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Once you actually make it on to one of these transport snakes, you have to contend with overtly chatty strangers, lost railcards, seat shortages, and the trauma of train toilets (if you dare).

The wine cart is the silver lining of the whole train experience, providing the perfect opportunity to unwind after you’ve managed to extract yourself from the cruelly over-active automatic carriage doors.

Parents’ questions

“Why do you look so tired?” “Have you been going to lectures?” “What are you going to do with your life?”

Maybe it’s because you’re exhausted from travelling. Maybe it’s because they ask you about your degree, which let’s face it, you don’t know anything about. Whatever the reason, fielding questions from the life-givers is inexplicably difficult and grating. You love them to bits, and you do sometimes miss them when you’re away, you just weren’t fully prepared to be interviewed on every minute detail of your life, present and future, as soon as you set foot in the house.

Bonus stress points for questions from grandparents. “I was married at your age, why haven’t you found a boyfriend yet?”

When your mum realises you got tubby

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We all gain a little potato podge from living in college, or existing solely on jammy dodgers and Dominoes, and at uni, it’s easy enough to disguise. But when you get home, and the woman who’s known you your whole life sees the state of you, it’s another matter.

You know it’s coming, but the inevitable, “Oh, you looked thinner on Skype, what have you possibly been eating?”, still smarts even more than the waistband of your favourite jeans biting into your blubber.

Getting your hair cut

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We all have our own reasons for travelling back to the nest – mainly to Instagram pictures of your dog, and to get your hair cut. A barber you trust is worth a lot, and you can’t risk breaking that bond by cheating of him with another stylist in term time.

However, the pressure of having travelled 300 miles to sit in his chair often goes to your head, and you end up requesting a daring new style. This combined with the classic hairdresser trick of cutting off four inches more than expected makes for a tense time.

Home friends finding out you’re back

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In school, if anyone realised you had gum, it was like the eighth plague of Egypt had been unleashed upon you; your whole class just swarmed. That is what it’s like when your home friends discover your back.

When you’ve got people from various areas of your life all demanding your presence at lunches and pub trips and afternoon teas, organising your two day trip home becomes a military style planning operation.

Realising your parents are better at drinking wine than you’ll ever be

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At unayy, you reckon you’re a bit of a lad, and yes, maybe beer bonging White Ace and necking Reefs without flinching is considered somewhat of a skill among the student squad.

But it takes a parent’s special brand of stamina to get through litres of Merlot before, during, and after dinner every night. Nothing makes you realise what a little fish you are like sitting wine-tiredly in a dog bed being comforted by an oversized terrier, while your parents lament what has become of students these days.

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Mum cries, the dog looks sadly at the suitcase, Dad gets gruff and dispenses nuggets of life advice. Much as going home short-stay might be a whirlwind of little stresses, home comforts are home comforts, and leaving the familiarity of your childhood to wander back in to semi-adult life is hard.