This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for several things. I’m thankful that I have a job. I’m thankful my parents took my dog in when said job said I could not bring her with me. And I’m thankful it’s break time and my students are LEAVING. Finally…a few days where I don’t have to pace around the laundry room waiting for a dryer to become available.

But then I almost feel bad for the freshman who are making their first trip home from college. I remember mine. I missed home so bad. I couldn’t wait to be home for A WHOLE WEEK. And then once I got there, I could not wait to leave. I actually made up some lie about a project I had to do and said I could ONLY do it in the studio.

The whole week felt a little like this.

So just like there are stages of grief and stages in student development theories, I have decided that there are stages of vacation time at home. While this is geared more towards students, I think some if it (with a few tweaks here and there) still applies to twentysomethings/adults.

Stage One – Excitement

You probably haven’t even left for home yet. You are counting down the days until break. You’re excited to sleep in your room and eat some home cooked meals and hang out with your friends and sleep in and do nothing all week. This week is gonna be great. You love home. Home home home.

Stage Two – Suddenly Everything Has Changed

You get home and run up to your room to put your things down when suddenly…what are all those boxes doing in the corner? And is that dad’s bill paying desk? And why are there no pillows on your bed?! Whatever, it’s only 7 pm, you’ll deal with that later. You go back downstairs, excited to see what’s for dinner and your parents tell you that they’re going out to dinner. But but but…you wanted mom’s lasagna, not Olive Garden. You cave and decide it’s worth it for the bread sticks. While are dinner with your family (BO-RING!) you text your friends to see what they’re all doing tonight. “Can’t, busy with the fam!” seems to be the standard reply. Okay, okay, you’ll have a boring night in (maybe spend some time searching for pillows) and see your friends after you wake up at like 2 pm and have pancakes.

Stage Three – You Want to Kill EVERYTHING

WHAT IS THAT BLINDING LIGHT? Oh, just your mom flipping on the lights because she needs something in one of those boxes RIGHT NOW. What time is it? Oh, you know, 8 am. And what’s that noise outside? Is that the leaf blower? Come on dad, couldn’t that wait until a reasonable hour? Your mom promises that you can go back to sleep as she tiptoes out of your room but then the next thing you hear is the vacuum. So much for sleep.

Stage Four – One is the Loneliest Number

Your friends are nowhere to be found. Foursquare informs you that they all are over town…at the movies, the mall, grocery shopping…with their boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, and parents. By the way, where is your family? Your parents went to the grocery store without you. I know, how could they, that could have been a social outing! Your siblings still have friends and live in your hometown since you know they still go to school here. Looks like it’s just you and the internet.

Stage Five – Family Time!

Remember that family that you missed in stage four? Well you don’t need to worry about that anymore because now they’re all home and guess what? So are twenty of their relatives! That’s right, it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner. Now you have to spend the next six hours pretending that you love every single minute of college and are really working hard for that education your Citibank loans are paying for.

Stage Six – Now They Want Things

Ahhh…the relatives are gone and you have two days left of break. NOW you’ll be able to see your friends and relax. No, no, that’s not happening. You need to clean up after Thanksgiving and while you’re at it, take some of that crap from your room to the basement, your parents need more room for storage. And what do you mean you want to hang out with your friends? There’s only two days left of break, you need to spend more time for your family. Right now you’re probably about to scream…

Stage Seven – GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

You can’t stand it anymore. You wonder if it’s possible to sneak out and hitch a ride back to school. Are any of your friends leaving tonight? You can’t possibly wait until morning. You better pack your bags in case it gets to be too much to handle and you need to leave in the middle of the night.

Stage Eight – Homecoming

You finally get back to college and you’re thisclose to dropping to your knees and kissing your uncarpeted dorm floor. As you unpack, your roommate gets back and starts raving about how terrible her Thanksgiving was. You are not alone.

It almost feels a little something like this.

So fear not college students, you have a few more weeks of college living until…Winter Break.

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