Home for the Holidays: How to Deal With Family Stress

Going home for break after long hours studying for midterms and finals is supposed to be relaxing and full of sleep and home-cooked meals. However, going home for the holidays can create some stress of its own. Between nosy relatives and chaotic Thanksgiving dinners, here is everything you need to know to get through the impending holiday breaks in a stress-free way.

Unfortunately, the number one thing most relatives and friends are curious about is your love life. For most college students, however, the term, “love life” consists of a few drunken hook-ups or the stolen glances between you and the cute boy in your Monday morning accounting class. Basically, unless you are in a committed relationship, there is no reason to be pressured into answering intruding questions. The best way to address these types of questions is to change the subject. Describe your favorite class, your most intelligent professor, or the charitable work you did for the club you’re involved in. Remind that college is a time to explore all your intellectual capabilities, and you have the rest of your life to worry about messy relationships.

            Another touchy subject that gets brought up during break are grades. This question is annoying to college students because on top of classes, we are trying to figure out what kind of people we are, what kind of people we want to spend our time with, and the impression we want to leave on the world. In the process of figuring this out, sometimes we fall behind in our classwork. If you had a tough semester and don’t want to talk about grades in front of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and older sibling at Harvard Law school, just talk about the most interesting thing you learned from one of your favorite classes. This shows them you were engaged and learning, and getting the best out of your college experience.

            Like I said before, breaks are supposed to be resting and rejuvenating yourself before finals or the upcoming semesters. However, many families think break entails thousands of family outings, trying to cram in excessive amounts of bonding time before you leave again. As such, it is natural for parents to get angry when you are sleeping until 2 PM and spending all your time awake alone in your room catching up on your netflix shows. Instead of getting irritated and pulling further away when this happens, try being truly engaged during the time you are together. Ask them about their lives. If you make the time you’re with them meaningful and worthwhile, they are less likely to harp on you in partaking in more familial activities.

            Although the holidays come with stressors of their own, take deep breaths if you feel yourself getting worked up and remind yourself that you’ll be back on your college campus before you know it.