Going home for Christmas after coming out in college

How to survive the holidays at home after the freedom of college

So you have been living your best life in college: enjoying your freedom and your anonymity. You are not the new you, you’re just you. College can be a wonderful place where you are able to be your unapologetic self. But all good things must come to an end, or at least must take a break. Coming home can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience, especially when you are out in college but not at home. If you are feeling nervous about returning home, do not worry; you are not the first to feel that way, and sadly, you probably won’t be the last. The truth is everybody’s experience and situation is different; some things work for some people and not for others. So instead of telling you “here’s how to cope with going home for Christmas after coming out in college,” I am just going to tell you how I coped and hopefully you can learn from my experience.

Seeing friends from college (if you can)

It only dawned on me how much freedom I had in college until I went home for Christmas. From eating whenever I felt like it to not having to tell people when I was getting home or where I was going because they would be worried, it was bliss. But the one freedom I realised I had lost when I returned home was the freedom to be me. Nobody was stopping me from being me, but I just did not feel comfortable enough to be myself. I did not want to upset anyone: family, friends, even myself. One thing which really did help me through the time at home was seeing friends from college. I was lucky enough to have friends from college in my hometown. I only saw them a handful of times over the month back home, yet those hour-long coffees did me the world of good. I may not have been in Dublin, but it felt like it. For those moments, I felt like myself; I really felt at home. 

Staying in touch

Now not all of us are lucky enough to have friends from college in our hometown. Even then, the current climate definitely does not help make impromptu drinks possible. The thing which really kept me sane, especially during that period of time between December 24 and January 1, was talking to friends online. Just a regular snap, text, call or Facetime made such a difference to my morale. Look, chances are, you know someone else who is out in college, but not at home, or at least not to their entire family. Even if none of your friends understand that aspect of being home, there are definitely some counting down the days until they are back in college. By staying in contact with your friends, you will feel as though you have your little support group. Telling each other stories about tense family dinners, annoying siblings, and funny encounters with past classmates will help you feel like you are not alone. This is valid no matter what your situation is. By talking to each other during the holiday season at home, you will feel supported and hopeful of returning to Dublin.

Keep yourself occupied

The way I dealt with this was to try and have one thing planned for every day; it could be anything.

One thing about being home for Christmas is that time can feel as though it is going by really slowly. The break in your fast-paced, busy college life comes to a break, making the days seem much longer and boring, particularly during the “crimbo limbo” week. This is when the break from the liberal environment, full of wonderful opportunities, really hits you hard. The way I dealt with this was to try and have one thing planned for every day; it could be anything. Going on a walk with a friend one day, going grocery shopping another to stock up on those home comforts you may be missing in college, or cleaning out your childhood bedroom are all valuable pastimes. Having at least one thing a day planned, no matter how mundane it was, really helped me maintain my sanity. I was able to go to bed knowing that I had done something with my day and I was another day closer to being back in Dublin.

Don’t stress, there is no pressure.

I started to panic, thinking that this was the moment, it was too late, I had to come out now, even though I was not ready

I vividly remember a moment when I felt like I was going to come out but didn’t last Christmas. I had flown back home with one of my girl friends, let’s call her “Viv”. We were on the same flight so all of my family knew about her. One day, I was having dinner with them, when someone turned and said: “Oh would you ever see yourself going out with Viv?” I nearly choked on my food. I started to panic, thinking that this was the moment, it was too late, I had to come out now, even though I was not ready. In the end, I brushed the question away saying that Viv was just a really good friend and I didn’t see her as anything more than that. When coming home from college, a place where you are out, to a place where you may not be, you can feel pressure to come out at certain instances, some of which you just don’t want to come out in. It’s a personal thing; whatever is right for you is the best possible option. Just because you go home does not mean that you have to come out before going back to college. If it does not feel right, then there is no pressure. You have to do what feels right safest for you. 

The truth is that you really are not alone in this situation.

Look, going home can be a lovely thing, but it can also be a scary thing. These tips may not work for you, but what helped me most of all was knowing that I was not alone. The truth is that you really are not alone in this situation. There are supports out there to help you if ever you need help. If I can give you one last bit of advice: try to enjoy your time at home; it may not be easy, but you will be back in college soon and things will get better, I promise.