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winterYes, you miss your parents. Yes, every time you have a bad day you wonder why you bothered to leave home anyway.

However you fall in the spectrum of enjoying or not enjoying college you must admit that it is new found freedom. Here are some potential issues you may face and ways to get through it.

Problem: For a full semester you have lived on your own and now you have to inform your parents of exactly where you’re going, who you’ll be with, and of course you have a curfew.

Solution: Compromise. Your parent’s job is to keep you safe so although the “who” and “where” will probably be non-negotiable you can have a discussion to push back your curfew. Share with them your thoughts, your current level of maturity, how much you miss your friends and assure them that you will make your safety your main priority. Put their minds at ease and they will probably relax on certain rules.

Problem: You have preplanned your entire break of visiting old college friends, eating at your favorite places and visiting your favorite relatives. When you arrive you find that your parents have committed you to mentor the neighborhood kid who isn’t doing so well in school, teach Sunday school and run errands with your grandma.

Solution: Communication is key. Look at your planned itinerary and the things your parents would like you to do. Honestly you probably won’t be able to do everything you had planned anyway. Pick one things per day that you definitely want to do for yourself and one thing that your parents or family have planned.

Problem: You found the love of your life during your 1st semester and have been inseparable since, now you are experiencing your first time apart. You live in different states and there’s no time to visit.

Solution: Remember winter breaks will be a very busy time for both of you so don’t be a pain. Allow each other the freedom of visiting with family and friends but keep the connection by sending a thoughtful text message every now and then. Take advantage of technology and schedule phone calls, Skype/video messaging and emails to share important updates of what you’re experiencing and how you’re feeling during this time.

Problem: You’ve changed and so have your best high schools friends. You try to make things as normal as possible but the chemistry seems off.

Solution: Accept change, it happens. Changing doesn’t mean you have to dump your old friends but it does you mean you have to invest time and energy to finding a new way to relate to each other. Note, some friendships have an expiration date so if this is the end of an era feel comforted in knowing that you’ll make what are arguably your lifelong friends in college.

Problem: Dorm rooms are filled with people, though annoying, especially when it comes to shared bathrooms it is entertaining. No matter what hour you are bound to find someone up and willing to study, shop, play games, watch movies, build model airplanes or whatever random idea you come up with. Now you return home where it’s just you, your parents and siblings. Boredom is at an all-time high.

Solution: The internet is your friend. Twitter can be your virtual dorm room. Facebook can shorten the miles between you and friends. Connect with your friends digitally. Remember to value your friends and family at home, although it may be a different kind of fun stay up and catch up on what has happened in your lives over the last few months.

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.

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