From sailing to suffocation: student’s rough transition from independent summer to life back home


“Olivia, will you pick that sock up off the floor?”


This conversation, and many just like it, occurred often during the weeks in between the time that I got home from teaching sailing at a summer camp and when we started school. My mom or dad would tell me to do something, and no matter how big or small the order, I retaliated in a manner that may or may not have been unreasonable.

The morning after I got home from camp, mother dearest woke me up at 8 in the morning, telling me to unpack my suitcase and clean my room. Even though I woke up at 7 a.m. every day at camp, I was infuriated that she was controlling this insignificant aspect of my life. I was used to being the one to wake up my own cabin of 12 year olds. How dare she decide when I could or couldn’t get out of bed.

My summer was a blur of peaceful days out on a sailboat and fun, energetic nights with sweet children who worshipped me. I was in charge of myself. No one was telling me that I had to be home at a certain time, or that I had to do a load of laundry or that I couldn’t hang out with anyone that night because we needed to have “family time.”

I looked down at my phone to see a text from my sister.

Hannah: How have you been since you got back from camp?

Relief washed over me. My sister will be able to sympathize with me; she dealt with my “unreasonable” parents for 18 years.

Me: I spent two and a half months doing everything for myself and being completely independent and now all of a sudden I’m living under Mom and Dad and their psychotic rules.

Hannah: Just remember that Mom and Dad are only trying to do what’s best for you, even though it might not seem like it.

In no way is my situation unique. Young adults experience an eternal struggle between independence and the strict, confining nature of parental guidance. While it’s killing me now, I know that when I’m off at college next year I’ll appreciate the good parenting that comes with curfews, laundry and forced family fun. Who knows, maybe I’ll miss the occasional barking order for me to “Get off your butt and clean your room!”