Columns / Discourse / May 15, 2019

Better Than Your Horoscope: Spending the summer at parents’ home

Welcome back to Better Than Your Horoscope, where you ask me your questions and I try my best to answer them. For my final installment, I’m answering this question:


How do I make spending the summer at my parents’ house in my hometown more bearable? I’m afraid I’ll get bored or frustrated with my family.


Ah, the classic going-home-for-the-summer dilemma.

After being at Knox all year, going back home for a few months can seem like a complete 180. You’re going from living with your friends, making your own decisions, planning your own time, staying out however late you want, etc., etc., etc., to feeling like you’re back in high school, under your parents’ rules.

But to be fair, they’re your parents. It’s a place to stay for free. It probably could be a lot worse.

Still, the adjustment is hard. The summer after my freshman year, I returned home to Long Island and worked full time as a cashier at Walmart. If you’re just going home to work a retail or food services job, don’t feel bad about it. I learned more working at Walmart than I have in a lot of my classes at Knox. I truly believe that more people should work retail and food services; we’d definitely be more polite as a species if that were the case.

But that’s all to say that getting out of the house and working should be your number one priority, and also the easiest solution to boredom. Not only will you be out of your parents’ hair, but you’ll be making money and gaining experience. You don’t need a fancy internship or project right away, but maybe planning ahead for the future will help you dread those summers less.

Hopefully you’ll also have some friends around who would love to reconnect with you. Even if you feel like you’re over your hometown and high school, hanging out with your friends during the summer is not to be overlooked or overrated. You’ll probably have a lot of fun.

But maybe you don’t have many friends in your hometown and your family isn’t getting along and you hate your job. What do you do then?

Keep yourself busy. Find new places near your hometown to explore. Take a hike. Take a long drive. Try something new.

Maybe start up a project. Having three whole months to yourself is a great time to really focus all your time on something you care about. For me, that’s always been working on writing a novel, or getting through my very tall stack of to-be-read books. For you, maybe that’s running every day. Or starting to work out at the gym. Or learning a new language. Or making new friends. Or volunteering.

There are plenty of possibilities! Just don’t let yourself mope around and waste the days away. You’ll probably feel a lot better about being home and away from your friends if you’re busy and finding ways to enjoy yourself.

You’ll be back here before you know it. Enjoy your summer!






Erika Riley, Editor-in-Chief
Erika Riley is a junior majoring in creative writing and minoring in journalism. During her sophomore year, she worked as a news editor, and during her freshman year, she worked as a layout editor. She is the winner of the 2017 Ida M. Tarbell Prize for Investigative Reporting and the recipient of First Place Front Page Layout from the Illinois Press Association in 2016. Twitter: @ej_riley

Tags:  better than your horoscope summer summer break

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