Free laundry or freedom

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

Time to crank up the air conditioner and load up on sunscreen. Summer has taken over campus and it looks like a scene from the “Walking Dead”: deserted with casual zombies and fearless warriors. The “Welcome Home” mat at the front door of their home was either folded up into a box or stepped on while running to class. Students who have stayed living in or around UCR may be contemplating whether it was the right decision to stay or not. On the other hand, the others who have decided to make the trek back home are probably contemplating the same thing. “Home away from home” may not feel as different from their parents’ roof as they thought — until they have to live under it once again. But is this a good thing or a bad thing? Coming from someone who still lives with a parent, I can add a little for those who wonder what it would be like living back at home.

Students enrolled in summer session had about a week before jumping right back to it. Whether that week was spent on family vacation or moving into some place with a new lease, they can call Riverside their home once again. But does it live up to the hype that is presented in the media? (I’m pretty sure Disney shows ruined our perception of high school. It wouldn’t have surprised me if we thought college was going to be like an episode of “Fresh Prince.”)

I hung out at my friends’ apartment during finals week, and I swear, when I opened up the fridge, all that was found was two eggs in a carton and a fourth of a juice jug. Their diet consisted of chips and water until Thursday … the day of their last final. “I don’t want to waste money if it’ll only be used for three days,” they explained. Was this how many students felt right before the final scrub-down of the kitchen and apartment during move-out day? They loaded up on Rice Krispy Treats and Red Bull right before they got the taste of free laundry, free food and even space. But, when at home with parents, what is the price of freedom?

I may have hung out at my friends’ apartment, but only because I told my mom I was “studying.” And even though there was an open book in front of us, I doubt I’d be allowed to go if she knew we spent our time cackling in front of the TV while watching “Copy Cat” on MTV with Chinese food handy. Since I never moved out from under my mom’s wing, I don’t know what it’s like to come home from that late-night cram at Rivera or wake up on the side of the toilet with a half-filled bottle of Fireball next to me. Those two scenarios may be just a facades of what the college experience may be, but I can barely go get coffee with a friend with permission and reassurance of the 10 p.m. curfew of a weekday. I sit and ask: Will all students going home face this?

A recent graduate moved back home with her parents. Boxes were her 3D wallpaper as she crammed a whole apartment into her bedroom. “I don’t know about you coming home late,” her parents said she opened the front door. She thought to herself, “I didn’t ask,” but before she could rebut, she heard “my roof, my rules.” Same goes when the students had their own roof — but usually the rule is leave shoes in the basket and don’t pour the booze if you plan on babysitting. Are students ready to give up their castle?

So maybe the savings you had stored may have to go toward the electricity bill because of the A/C rather than that trip to Las Vegas. Remember though, it is your A/C to crank up or turn down, you get to choose for what. Make living here worth wild. If you decide living away from home, make your place your own!

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