The seven stages of being home from York for Christmas
Bye bye independence, hello family drama!
Coming home from York's loving embrace can be a cruel shock to the system, especially in the harsh winter months.
Much like the stages of grief, there are several steps to getting used to being away from university.
Here are the seven stages everyone goes through after travelling home for Christmas.
Stage One: Shock and Denial
There's no lock on your door, your room has been converted into a "day gym" and your mum hasn't even bothered getting you an Advent calendar. You try to emulate the feeling of being at York, first playing geese sounds on your phone, then scrolling through pictures of dirty tea towels and piles of dishes on the counter. Things you just don't get in your parents' house. The shock may last weeks, you just have to sit through it.
Stage Two: Pain and Guilt
The pain of being away from your cosy little camp bed in Derwent is almost excruciating. Every insect you see reminds you of those cute little silverfish crawling on your towels. You feel guilty: why didn't I tell my flatmates how much they mean to me? Why didn't I take the bin out more? It is tempting to turn to alcohol at this point, but this is a coping mechanism, do not cave to its promises.
Stage Three: Anger and Bargaining
At this stage you may find yourself lashing out at parents or siblings. In York, you could have a shower without a nine-year-old smacking the door down trying to get to the toilet. At uni, you could admire the contents of your fridge at any time of day, eating biscuits at your heart's content. When your dad tells you to stop eating Pringles at 3am, it is only in your nature to start crying. You might start bargaining, saying "Mum, I'll never leave clothes on the floor again if you stop coming in my room unannounced." These statements are often pointless.
Stage Four: Reflection and Loneliness
As the first week melts away, the true magnitude of being away from uni sets in- you begin to yearn for your uni mates and spend a while scrolling back through the group chat. Remember that time you wrangled a goose together? Remember when you all made that disgusting pasta bake and threw it in the bin? It's missing good times like that that really make you miserable.
Stage Five: The Upward Turn
One day, you wake up and find a nice cup of tea on your bedside table. Your sadness begins to lift slightly, and you start to feel things falling back into place at last. Things like the dishwasher and the cat start to make you feel comfortable rather than shocked and confused. You say yes to shopping with your mum rather than putting on a new Netflix special.
Stage Six: Reconstruction and Working Through
The fog has finally cleared. You open the fridge and see its wondrous contents: fresh milk, real vegetables, yoghurts, cheeses, sandwich meats. Think about what you left in your uni fridge: half a tomato, an egg. Maybe you won't get scurvy this year, maybe you don't need endless Efe's to feel at home.
Stage Seven: Acceptance and Hope
You have found yourself again! You begin making plans with your home friends and accepting that you can be yourself without Courtyard nachos. Of course, you're still excited to go back to York, but maybe Christmas time at home isn't as terrifying as you thought.