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5 Things Commuter Students Need To Know5 Things Commuter Students Need To Know

How You've Grown

The Summer Re-entry

A young woman sleeps in with sunshine coming through the window, next to her smartphone.

Both students and parents are eager to see the school year end, and most look forward to a return home. But, home for the summer usually means adjustments for both your student and you. Even if he/she is a commuter, the growing independence your student experienced during the academic year, coupled with the schedule changes of the summer months, may take some time getting used to. See these tips for a smooth re-entry and a more pleasant summer:

Know that they’ll be exhausted.  Students will need some extra sleep to recover from the preparation and stress of final exams, completing projects and papers, and packing.  Give them a few days to decompress and to catch up on some zzzzzzz’s. They will emerge from their bedrooms eventually

Recognize that they’ve changed. And maybe you have, too. Students have grown in independence and are used to managing their own lives, without curfews or many rules. And parents have developed a comfortable household rhythm while they were away. Communication is key. Discuss your expectations early and be open to compromise and some renegotiation.  

Car keys being exchanged from one person's hand to another.

Expect them to miss their friends. Although happy to see you, siblings and extended family, students have created a life apart from the family. Unless your student is a commuter, they have lived exclusively with other college students and have created strong bonds, sharing the daily ups-and-downs of college life. Texting and phone calls may increase as students attempt to stay connected to their closest pals.

Anticipate their requests for the car. As tired as they might be, catching up with hometown friends won’t take a backseat. If your student doesn’t have a car of his/her own, they will be asking for yours…and probably for a little cash, too. 

Plan ahead for the boxes. When students come home, their “stuff” does, too, and typically, unpacking isn’t a high priority for them. They would prefer to park their belongings in the foyer, only reaching for the essentials. Carving out a place for storing their possessions now can help to keep the homefront somewhat intact as students slowly unpack and reorganize.

Keep your expectations realistic. Parenting a college student is not for the fainthearted. The family dynamic may be different when your student returns home, and it’s okay to experience some disruption. Try to embrace the big picture and enjoy your time together. Your student will be back at school before you know it, and you’ll be missing their presence at home once again!