OK..I know I am ahead of myself a little bit. It feels like summer. Warm air, thunderstorms, baseball and the return of the migrating college student. It is the return of the college student that annually turns us to anticipation of how much our home life will change over the next few months. Excuse me if the migration to our home is different than yours. I have discussed this with enough parents I doubt it.
The migration patterns of a college student are forced on them by the institutions that take so much of our money to provide training that will enable them to survive in society. The training only goes so far. The migrating college student often seems to not realize the differences in the world outside academia. The strange part is unless forced behavior patterns are introduced they will not recognize that outside their institutions the world does not include sleep until noon, proceeded by many hours of reality TV, and finally mass socialization events starting at 11pm. For these reasons, the annual summer migration pattern where these cocoons of academia no longer provide protection of this lifestyle, create a level of stress on the homes where the migration occurs.
Starting today, we expect the return of our first college student. Both of our students already have made their presence felt by convincing their brother to come to school over the weekend and provide use of his truck to bring to our home most personal possessions and furnishings. Of course, with no thought of where these items would be deposited, the brother and I spent Sunday afternoon carrying things to storage and upstairs to bedrooms in preparation for the migration. Why do we have to handle the migration and all of its baggage also? The migration is like taking a business trip, where when you reach your hotel you find your favorite big screen TV, chair, couch and reading materials. Not to mention a full wardrobe of clothing that most likely has hardly been touched (but was needed just in case)!
For months we have enjoyed a lifestyle that includes sleeping through the night at what most of us consider normal hours. Beginning tonight, I can almost hear the TV’s blaring through our home at 1am, waking me up to the sound of Jersey Shore reruns. Not to mention that I am accustomed to getting out of bed and not worrying about the bodies deposited on couches throughout the home. Did I mention the food consumption and lack of parking? Or finding myself blocked into our driveway by multiple vehicles when trying to leave to go to the office?
My wife and children consider my attitude about this migration a sign of my senility. They may be right. I am increasingly a creature of habit. Just like nature, the migration affects my habits and it causes conflict. The good news? Jobs! Yes, get the student employed quickly in a job where they work eight hours and are tired by late evening! This seems to make a huge difference in the adaptation of the student to it’s new environment. If they can’t find one, create one for them! You are not running college housing and the migration needs to include a rapid adaptation program to the lifestyle of the remainder of the home. Unless you also have high school students who will be out of school in a month. At that point all you can do is plan vacations and disrupt the patterns.
True, we love having our kids back home. It is the adaptation process that is a true test of our patience and now a part of our recognition of summer. I think I now understand the real reason people purchase summer homes!