1. ‘I’m actually trapped here… Help’
It’s only now you’re home that you realize just how little freedom you have under your mum’s control. You’ve said a sad goodbye to things you’re now realizing you totally took for granted back at uni, like sleeping in till midday on your days off with no one to make you feel guilty about it, supermarket shopping trips consisting of raiding the bakery and chocolate isle for those cookies and Wotsits you were craving that morning, and shameless 2am drunk decisions to order a takeaway. Now you’re back to the restraints of set meal times, a bathroom that’s permanently hogged by another family member, and worst of all, the dreaded bedtime curfew.
2. ‘Where have all my friends gone?’
Thank goodness you made a shedload more at uni, because the majority of your old friends seem to have ditched you, and you’re only realizing it now you’re back home. The tearful promises to meet up over Christmas have been long forgotten. Everyone’s gone their separate ways, and it seems in the three months you were away, your pals have undergone some sort of therapy that’s made them totally forget about your existence. The only people who want to meet up are the poor souls who, for some crazy, incomprehensible reason, decided to stay at home for uni or, even worse, have had to stay at college for another year. You receive regular texts off them begging for you to meet up so that they can sob to you about how much they’re regretting their decision to stay at home while all their mates are off on adventures around the country.
3. ‘Why, oh why did I get a Christmas job?’
Okay, so you know the answer to this straight away- you’re poor. You worked out your student loan for next term, and nearly had a heart attack at the shock of finding out you only have a measly couple of hundred pounds to get you through the weeks. A job was therefore essential, despite the voice of laziness and reluctance screaming protests inside your head. Queue a desperate search on Indeed for any temporary Christmas jobs back at home- and I mean desperate; you wouldn’t have even considered applying for a cleaning job before now. That’s how you’re finding yourself waking up bright and early (when you rarely even had to do that at uni) and heading off to some minimum wage customer service job virtually every day of the week. At least it gets you out of the house for a bit.
4. ‘My town is probably the most boring town on earth.’
Fair enough, you knew this before you left for uni. That’s why you decided to move away in the first place, duh. You’re at a genuine total loss as to why any sane person would actually choose to live somewhere that’s so small it isn’t even recognized on the map once you travel a bit further down the country. You look around as you attempt your last-minute Christmas shopping at the small grouping of buildings consisting of a couple of banks, a closing-down retail store and a Wilko’s that’s more formally known as your town centre, and take a moment to pray for all the poor children who pass you by clinging to their parents’ hands- they’ve still got at least ten years left in this, um… sewage-hole. Good luck to them.
5. ‘I should really get that work finished.’ Sigh.
Remember when the Christmas holidays were a lovely, peaceful break from school work, where you got to chill out and focus on nothing but endless watching of television and piling on the Christmas pounds? Unfortunately, even when you’re physically away from whichever breakdown-inducing course you thought was a good idea to apply for, lecturers like to make sure it’s never too far from your mind. Expect regular email updates over the holidays, reminding you about that assignment you need to submit by January 1st, or offering several hundreds of attachments of revision for the exam you’ve got to sit the day after you return to uni.
6. ‘Time to get into the Christmas spirit!’
This doesn’t mean you weren’t in the Christmas spirit already (actually, you’ve been unashamedly playing Michael Bublé since the beginning of November, but that’s besides the point). It was all very lovely and festive enjoying a flat Christmas dinner- questionably-cooked roast chicken and all- and the secret Santa with a £10 budget with all your course mates was the best idea you’d had all year. But there’s something about seeing your own Christmas tree that’s stood in the living room every Christmas since you can remember that really gets the Christmas feelings going. So what are you waiting for? Throw on your onesie, grab a box of celebrations, get that Michael Bublé album back on, and treat yourself to your own little Christmas party.
7. ‘In a weird sort of way, I’ve kind of missed this.’
You never before imagined you’d feel lost when you finally got to leave home, so you’re starting to question your sanity from the realization that there was an empty place inside of you that only refilled itself when you stepped through your front door- to be immediately greeted by your little brother throwing a tantrum, your mum nagging at you to tidy away your belongings, and your dog getting under your feet and nearly sending you flying. Strangely, though you’ve found a new sort of ‘family’ in your flat, there’s no one like your crazy old family back home; no matter how much they might test your patience sometimes. And it’s only now that you realize Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without them. Aww.