Going Home For Christmas: Expectation Vs. Reality

christmas

With Christmas just round the corner, many university students are gearing up to travel home. Whether that be a cross-country trek across the railways or 30 minute drive down the road, the anticipation of home always holds a certain je ne sais quoi. Whether it be being surrounded by loved ones, or the just knowledge that you don’t have to wake up early for 9am lectures, going home for the holidays is always an exciting prospect. Surprisingly, this is one of the few times hollywood chick-flicks actually get it right, so wrap up warm, board your train and prepare yourself for a bumpy ride.

Expectation 1: Your presence will be the most exciting thing to happen to your family since your mum won £50 on the euromillions 3 years ago.

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Reality: After the hugs and formalities, its only a matter of time until your mum is moaning about you being in the way of the oven when she’s cooking, or your siblings are arguing with you over the remote – to which you’ll argue they’ve had the last 3 months to watch TV while you’ve lived in squalor without one.

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Expectation 2: Finally getting the remote and being able to catch up on all the shows you’ve missed, without having to wait for a video player to buffer – and on a screen bigger than a sheet of paper.

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Reality: Your dad took Catfish off series link because it was clashing with Tour de France coverage and your siblings had viewed all the new episodes of Impractical Jokers, so your mum deleted them off the planner. At least she kept that one episode of Made in Chelsea from series 7 that you never had to catch up on because you watched it live… with your mum.

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Expectation 3: Two words: Full. Cupboards.

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Reality: Your mum’s stopped picking up your favourite things from the shop because no-one else likes your bizarre combination of balsamic vinegar and chicken supernoodles, even though you know Heston Blumenthal would snap your recipes up in a heart beat.

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Expectation 4: Making the time to see all your friends who have also been away, and it’s like nothing has changed.

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Reality: You all have different family engagements, while some of you are working and the others haven’t even made it home yet, so managing to actually arrange something is nearly impossible.

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Expectation 5: By some miracle actually all being free and seeing each other, only to realise how much you’ve all matured since being at university.

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Reality: None of you have matured and, if anything, have regressed as human beings, due to a lack of nutrients and brain cell genocide from all night Netflix binges.

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Expectation 6: Using your new-found maturity to wow your ex / crush / girl who spread that rumour about you and the weird boy from maths by looking flawless at the New Years party you know they’ll be attending.

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Reality: You forget that it’s not acceptable to go to the supermarket in pyjamas outside of a student area and bump into them with a basket full of junk food. Bonus points if your mums asked you to pick up a jumbo size pack of loo rolls.

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Expectation 7: Your family asking topical questions about your course at the dinner table and being able to impress them with all that you’ve learned in your time away.

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Reality: They skim over your actual degree and are way more interested in your love life and want to know why you haven’t got a new boyfriend or girlfriend yet. “I don’t want one’ doesn’t suffice, so your dad will probably assess your weight gain / choice in hair style / lack of general appeal in front of your entire family. At least you’ll be able to identify where that lack of general appeal came from.

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Expectation 8: Being able to relax while the domestic goddess that is your mum takes care of all your washing up / laundry / everything that you’ve been having to do for yourself since you became an adult.

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Reality: Believing you are now a responsible adult, she expects you to do it for yourself – until she goes into your room, that is, and tries to lecture you on how to be a decent human being. Cue the “its my room” / “yeah well its my house” argument that will undoubtably follow.

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Expectation 9: Your pets greeting you with love and affection and worshipping the ground you walk on.

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Reality: After the first five minutes of fussing, they cannot care less about you. The fur that you’re covered in would say otherwise, and no amount of lint rollers will ever get it all off.

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Expectation 10: Being able to go back to uni and recount all the tales of your mad family and tell your friends what a sick time you had.

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Reality: Realising just how much you do love your family and being genuinely sad to leave them when January rolls around.

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Until easter break that is, when you have to relive it all over again.

Holly McLaren

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