To all you high school graduates, congrats on finishing that long chapter of your teenage years! You done good. And it’s pretty obvious you’re just itching to leave your hometown and start college already, ditch the same old same old and move away, meet new people, make new friends, and party like crazy (and yeah, I guess you’ll be studying, too). But woah there, hold your horses! This is a magical summer. You’re off to a new land, but you’re leaving some things behind, some very important things, and when you come back to visit friends and family a whole year from now (it sounds long, but trust me, it ain’t), this place might not be the same as you left it.

College is the real deal, but there’s really no place like home.

Neck-high in college shennanigans, you’ll be having the time of your life, but you’ll also miss things like:

1. Your pet(s). It can get pretty hard to go to sleep without your cat cuddling up under the covers with you. You’ll want to pet your furry rabbit to destress during finals week. You’ll wish you could walk your dog after your last class of the day. Some college dorms allow you a fish, but you can’t really play catch with one, can you? Waving hi to your pets during family Skype calls is about the best you can do, so enjoy your time with them now!

2. A homemade meal. Cafeteria food doesn’t always cut it. Food is your fuel, and once you’ve gotten used to your mom’s classic lasagna or your dad’s out-of-this-world burgers on the back grill, there really isn’t anything that can replace that. There will be times in college when you yell, “Yikes!” at your credit card bill because you ate out so often that week, unsatisfied with cafeteria food. Savor your favorite meals at home, and take this opportunity to learn a few recipes while you can.

What's not to miss about those relaxing bubble baths at home? Image from

What’s not to miss about those relaxing bubble baths at home? Image from

3. Driving a car. The feeling you get behind the wheel. The keys in your hand. The breeze through the windows rolled down. The radio on (Need I say more? Even being driven becomes a treat when you have no car of your own.).

4. Bubble baths. Ewww, public showers.

 5. Your favorite hang out spot. I missed the espresso milkshake at Aroma Roasters like crazy while I was in college. My friends and I would go there to listen to live music at night, catch up, share summer reading recommendations, and plan for a weekend trip to the Russian River or San Francisco or Bodega Bay. Your favorite hang out spot is part of what makes this place home.

6. Having your mother ‘mommy you’ when you’re sick. My roommate got walking pneumonia last fall, and it took her two weeks to realize that this ‘god-awful cold’ wan’t going away. Mother always know what’s up, and they know just what to do in crises like this.

Here are a handful of things my college friends have been enjoying now that they’re home for the summer (because what’s a TP article without a few funny quotes thrown in?):

  • “I’m enjoying eating what I want. Particularly fresh fruit, which is rare in college. Now I have more time to read for pleasure. Driving is pretty nice. Also not having a roommate means I can sleep naked again. Yeah.” – Matt NucciWesleyan University ’16
  • “Cuddling with my mom.” – Silvia Kat RoaWesleyan University ’15
  • “My grandma’s cooking.” – Antonio RobayoWesleyan University ’16
  • “Pets and having your own shower to sing in.” – Beatrix KuhnUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst ’16
  • “Having time and space to do the DIYs on Buzzfeed #nolife.” – Sadichchha AdhikariWesleyan University ’16
  • “Driving a car! All I have in Montana is a beat-up bike.” – Lily HarrisonUniversity of Montana ’16
  • “Taking showers without having to wear flip flops ’cause the dorm showers are gross!” – Camille CooleyUniversity of California Santa Cruz ’15
  • “Having a backyard that bleeds into a state park. Forests over desert, any day.” – Michael RondonUniversity of California Los Angeles ’15

So for those leaving the nest this fall, enjoy home while you can. Summer is for making memories – make this summer count!

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