I feel sorry for us. People just don't understand how difficult this past summer has been for college students. It wasn't easy for us to come home from school and deal with the fact that the "hottest" girl from our high school has gained ten pounds or that our rooms have been transformed into convenient "storage" space for the rest of our families' stuff. As if those adjustments weren't bad enough, we've had to cope with the reality that Marissa Cooper died in a car accident, crushing any hope for a future Marissa/Summer make out in The O.C. While those issues certainly provided difficult obstacles for us to overcome, they pale in comparison to the ultimate adjustment many of us had to make this summer: living with our parents.
For most of us, living at school with our friends has provided us with a welcome dose of freedom and fun. The only problem is that we get so used to living without our parental units, and they get so used to living without us, that the clash of these different lifestyles when we move home is both inevitable and cataclysmic.
It's no simple task sharing a summer with our parents while they watch PBS and constantly ask us when we find out our grades or when we're going to get a haircut. Keep in mind, though, that the adjustment wasn't easy for them either. Imagine how nervous your parents get when they need to tell you about something really important (like how there's a nice blue jay at the birdfeeder), but are afraid to go to your room because there's a strong chance that you are "surfing the internet"?
Without a doubt, the most difficult adjustment we have had to make is to repress our constant urge to insert a minimum of three curse words in every sentence we utter (even for sentences as simple as "Hello"). At school, guys are accustomed to referring to even their closest friends as various parts of the female anatomy. So how do you expect us to find "appropriate" words to express our true feelings when the topic of Osama Bin Laden comes up at the dinner table?
TV-use is another cause of major difficulties when living with your parents. At college, staying up until 3 am playing video games was not only acceptable but respected among students and professors alike. At least that is what I tried to explain to my parents when they woke up terrified one night because I was screaming "There's a sniper right behind you! I'll go get the rocket launcher!" to my teammates while playing Halo 2 online. We constantly fought over what to watch on TV, too. My parents just don't recognize the appeal of Family Guy or reruns of Global Guts, and I can't understand how they can watch shows that lack even one anorexic cast member.
Mornings were also a major struggle-fest. The problem here is that at college our definition of "morning" is the same as our parents' definition of "night": something we sleep through. Parents always complain about how we sleep in too late, not getting up early at 6 am like they do. Little do they know about those nights at school where 6 am was our bedtime. Also, this whole tradition of "breakfast" (deriving from the Latin words "break" meaning "to eat" and "fast" meaning "fast") that my parents encourage me to adopt is still very foreign to me.
And what's up with these "chores"? How can I be responsible for feeding my dogs when I struggled enough for the past nine months feeding myself? Clean my room? I lasted an entire school year living in a dorm room that played host to four guys, two mice, and possibly the bubonic plague. After that experience, I'm pretty sure I could live in a dumpster for a summer, let alone my only slightly messy room at home. Don't our parents realize that the fact that we even survived a year of playing video games, partying, and living in filth at least merits a nice relaxing summer of playing video games, partying, and living in filth?