Coming home for the holidays: Relationships between graduates, family change

By Lauren Blackwell,
HUB Website Editor-in-chief–

DHS graduate Lisa Robison jump-started her new life on Sept. 11 as she migrated down to UC San Diego, her new home for the next four years. Robison will see her family during Thanksgiving break for the first time since she left Davis.

Many other DHS graduates will also be coming home for the first time since their departure from home.

According to Robison, she stays in contact with her family every two or three days through calls, texting, emails, and Skype. But she has yet to have any face-to-face contact with them since her arrival in San Diego.

“I’m really excited to see my family and friends again,” Robison said.

According to Margo Bane Woodacre, co-author of “I’ll Miss You Too”, many conflicts arise in the family relationships during the first encounter between students coming home and parents waiting for them with open arms.

“The parent pretty much expects the same student coming home that they sent off to college,” Woodacre said. But the students are different because of the effect that the freedom of college has on them.

Woodacre said that the conflicts arise mainly because the students want to spend most of their time catching up with old friends. According to her, the students tend to stick to the hourly schedules of dorm life, often staying out until later than the parents would like. This tends to cause even more conflict, Woodacre said.

The students’ changes from dependent to independent roles are part of the conflict as well. Woodacre thinks that this is a good change.

“The student should be going off and getting a taste of what it’s like to be on their own,” Woodacre said.

But according to the author, students and their parents need to compromise on the rules. “The student must respect the home rules to a degree, but the parents need to be open-minded,” she said.

Woodacre experienced these changes first hand when her daughter Steffany, the co-author of her book, came home from college over Thanksgiving many years ago.

Woodacre, a single mom at the time, had always been “wrapped up in Steffany’s life.” When Steffany abandoned home, the fear of losing the life she and her mother shared took over Woodacre and “that empty nest feeling” began to consume her life.

Woodacre was elated when Steffany finally made it home for Thanksgiving, but the joy turned to uneasiness when conflict began to spout between the mother and daughter pair.

Steffany would sometimes come home during the early hours of the morning. Woodacre, being a worried mother, would often times not get a wink of shut eye until the sound of her daughter’s keys clinked on to a nearby table.

However, not all families have experienced the same conflicts and instead made smoother transitions in the parent-student relationships.

Senior Brynne Satre’s brother Alex Satre graduated from DHS in 2009. Alex is currently a junior at Colorado School of Mines. According to Brynne, Alex skipped Thanksgiving with the family in 2010. He went to Texas with his roommate instead.

“We haven’t really had a Thanksgiving with my entire family for a few years,” Brynne said.

Alex and Brynne’s mom Lindsay Satre has not noticed many changes or conflicts between Alex and the rest of the family since he left for college.

“When I dropped him off at school I was very emotional. When I got home we missed him but the girls [Brynne and her younger sister Cara Satre] were so busy that I didn’t really notice,” Lindsay said.

According to Lindsay, during Thanksgiving of Alex’s freshman year, there were no major conflicts between the two parties.

“We just let him do what he wanted,” Lindsay said. She said, they did this because, as a college student, he should be able to make his own decisions. They just made sure he spent some time with the family.

“When he’s here, we do more family oriented things and we try and get as much time together as possible,” Brynne said.

According to Lindsay, the “empty nest feeling” that some parents get when their children leave for college did not kick in when Alex left.

“I think I’ll notice it more next year when Brynne leaves,” Lindsay said.

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