Not Home for the Holidays

By: Rose Mannas

Campus Sherpa Staff Writer, The University of San Francisco

All families have holiday traditions that they just can’t see themselves missing, whatever their culture is. For my family, one of these things include pulling all of the Christmas decorations down from the attic. We play Christmas music throughout the house and take a few hours working all together to transform the house into Christmas-mode. But when I got home from my Fall semester my Freshman year, the house was already transformed, and I was left to just enjoy the tradition without participating.

You will find that once you leave for college, you are going to miss key happenings in your family that you hate to see go on without your presence. Unfortunately, it is inevitable and includes things that you did not even know you cared about.

If your family cannot afford to get you home on every holiday, it can be so painful to sit at school, sometimes alone. Where I go to school, the majority of students are from the Bay Area, making it so easy for them to get a ride home or pay $10 to use public transportation to get to their home town. I am from Texas, so I have often had to stay at school on long weekends and similar events.

How do you cope?

Here are some tips:

  • Realize that you are not alone— think about the other out of state students and international students especially who cannot make it home either. Finances can even be too stressful for nearby families to pay for transportation for their student to and from home.
  • Find other students— they are out there, I SWEAR! Ask around on your floor, and I promise at least one other person will be staying at school on that occasion, too. If it is a close friend, awesome! If you don’t know them super well, it is going to make you both feel much better to just go grab dinner together or do something fun. They will be so appreciative that you made the plans and you will feel the holiday spirit as well.
  • Talk with your RA— not only is it his or her job to make you feel better, but they often have awesome suggestions for what to do. Most students don’t know this, but RAs are REQUIRED to stay on campus some breaks since the dorms are still open. They of course will know of any happening that you can participate in or can maybe make some plans with you!
  • Make your own traditions— from the picture above, you can see that I invested in a Christmas tree. My 3 roommates and I went to a tree farm all together and picked out a cute baby tree. We had a really fun time setting up the tree and handmade ornaments all together. We saved all of our goodies for next year’s apartment tree!
  • Go home with a friend! If you have made a close friend, talk with them about making a fun trip out of it. I have friends who live in the Bay Area and Sacramento who have all offered to take me in since they understand I live far. They won’t say no!

If you are still needing support after these tips, talk to the people who would understand you the best: your parents. Perhaps if they know that you are upset about the situation, they can make arrangements to either get you home, send you to family closer by, or work to make plans happen the next holiday you want to go home. Each campus of course has counseling if you are bummed out about not getting to see your family. Utilize that and the tips above!

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