Home sweet home? The highs and lows of quarantine with family


By Alice Lampard, Fifth Year, Veterinary Science

The Croft Magazine // With universities across the country having shut their doors early for summer and the start of term delayed, many students are suddenly finding themselves back home spending several months living with their families - something they may not have experienced for a long time.

For the vast majority of students, going home to spend time with family and being looked after, getting home-cooked meals and seeing loved ones (including family pets you’ve sorely missed!), is an occasional treat – so surely these past few months have been paradise… Or have they?

Obviously, we love spending time with our family, but the transition from independent student life to suddenly being in your childhood bedroom again, with your parents monitoring your every move, can become frustrating.

You are back in your parents’ home but now you are an independent adult and you expect to be treated like one – unfortunately, parents often forget this. You start to find that it’s not as simple to leave the house and do your own thing as you’d thought; you have to answer questions like, 'Where are you going? Who are you going with? What time will you be back?'.

You suddenly feel like a young teenager again, trying to sneak out to the park or a friend’s house for an underage drinking session. Why do your parents not trust you? You are an adult now; you can go out with friends without having to justify every detail to your family!

A short escape from the family isn’t always possible

Leaving the house to get some space is always a good idea, but with the pandemic looming, most indoor social areas being shut, and having to bear in mind social distancing, your options are limited. Many of us will have some school friends around, but the majority of them will have moved out of the area and your university friends are suddenly many miles away. If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to a car, a short escape from the family isn’t always possible.

And when you don’t leave the house it can seem even worse – 'Why are you sleeping in so late? Why are you watching TV all day? Why are you eating all that junk food? Stop raiding the fridge!' You’ll very soon begin to miss the freedom of doing whatever you please without having to justify it or feel guilty.

The lockdown has brought many of us closer together

But should you really complain? Yes, it is irritating to still be treated as a child and have to adapt to living with your parents again, but remember all the bonuses! You get to spend quality time with your family which you may have lacked during term time. The lockdown has brought many of us closer together and having a caring family and support system around you is the best way to get through these troubling times.

If you have found yourself in your childhood bedroom again, why not spend some time giving it a makeover – a new, more adult look? Going through all your old stuff can be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Sort out your books, find games and toys you had long forgotten about, look through photographs with your family and reminisce over simpler times.

As much as you might deny it, your parents tend to know you better than anyone else – so take advantage of that! Rant to them as much as you like; they will understand how you feel and will sympathise and advise you in a way that your friends cannot.

Also, most parents, having worked all their lives, will live in a house which is far bigger and nicer than anything a student with mountains of debt will be able to afford in their post-university years – so make the most of it!

Admittedly, you might experience a little cabin fever and be irritated by your siblings’ constant singing, your parents’ constant hoovering or the constant fighting over the TV, but put these minor inconveniences to one side and make the most of the time you have with your loved ones: when the time comes to go back to your studies and independent life, you’ll actually miss them more than you think.

Featured image: Unsplash / Toa Heftiba

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