1. Ecstasy from escaping Locust Walk: Sure, you could have been the promising intern on Wall Street this summer, but by choosing to return to your small home town, you Ivy League scholar get to be the real big shot. Everyone will be in awe of your “worldly” experiences in Philadelphia, while the small-town hospitality will give you a much needed break from pre-professional competition. Whether you’re traveling on a plane, bus or car, you already are drafting a bucket list of all the old places to visit, the TV shows to catch up on, and ways to smooch off your parents (free housing, food, and labor right?).
2. Mom and Dad play good cop/bad cop: From the moment your parents pick you up from the airport or open the front door, a series of 20 questions begins. Of course, these are the most dreadful, naive or trivial questions, like whether you've done drugs or what percentage of milk you drank all semester. Questions about your romantic life inevitably come up, and even your older sibling asks if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. WTF, sis, weren’t you messing around in college a few years ago?! I thought you were better than to ask that.
3. Reuniting with your room is too much: To escape the interrogations, you lock yourself in your bedroom. Looking around, you find it looks creepily the same or irritatingly different, either because mom and dad hung up sentimental baby pictures or have jettisoned their rubbish here. Have no fear, you tell yourself, this gives you the perfect opportunity to redecorate with new photos from college. Should you play it safe by framing the “Love” statue pic or go candid with the group shot against the fence at your first darty? The excitement quickly deflates, however, as you begin unpacking and discover you brought way too many clothes, decorations and other shit you should have left in storage. The emotional struggle between tossing the old and new is too taxing, and instead of figuring out where you will put everything, you give up and resolve to keep it all in the suitcases. You’re only going to be here for three months anyway.
4. Real-food coma: Rather than unpacking luggage, you turn to unpacking the fridge. Never have you seen this appliance so full in the last nine months, and it’s all for your taking, without Dining Dollars, credit cards or bitter Penn Dining employees killing your vibe. With your favorite childhood snacks in hand (Mom knows you too well), you recline onto the sofa, deciding to forget every adult skill you mastered. Laundry? It was all Penn Student Agencies. Cleaning? I did it for the first and last time before moving out. Cooking? Hill brunch spoiled me. 5. Grocery shopping replaces loitering outside Frontera: While your parents may let you get away with neglecting your chores, thanks to how much they’ve missed you, they do have one favor to ask: accompany them on every errand they have done alone in the past months. Hey, this is a good chance to see if they finally opened a new store in the mall! Two semester of sloppy hookups should have taught you never to get your hopes too high. Costco (or insert any large supermarket) is still the most popping place in town. You'll have to resort to SABSing here for the next three months.
6. Second thoughts on SABS: As you grace the aisles of the big box store, you remember there are a whole lot of people you never wanted to see again. The classmate you swore stalked you, the assistant football coach you despised, even the creepy cashier who still works there and still knows your name. But like any celebrity, you can’t avoid the “paparazzi” and their nosey questions about college life. Even when you bump into those dear adult acquaintances, the conversation is always slightly awkward, as you must gracefully describe your Penn experience while avoiding the best parts you can’t quite tell them about.
7. Bonfire season begins: After too many unpleasant interactions, you seek the company you actually enjoy and hit up high school buds. Cue the hugs, laughs and one upping about who's had the wildest semester. You can’t help but feel slightly dissed by their blank stares when describing your passion/antipathy for Wawa, GSRs, or DFMOs. These summer reunions must take the form of bonfires, and sipping Busch Light before the flames, you come to full terms this isn’t the land of downtowns and wristbands anymore.
8. Game over for your social media game: The realization comes partly as relief, partly as horror. What’s going to happen to your Instagram/Snapchat flow when you don’t have black rooms with pulsing lights to snap or lin photos to gram? Embracing the remote mountains/ocean/desert/hayfields is a tempting way to diversify your profile, but let’s be honest, these shots can’t compete with all the pics of Paris or any other exotic city clogging up your feed. What even is the optimal posting time now when all of your friends are around the globe? Annenberg did not prepare you for this PR crisis.
9. I got that summertime sadness: You deleted social media apps out of envy. You haven’t hailed an Uber in a week. Your best high school friends are still in school. You have to work. Your parents are trying to deny your independence. Somehow, summer does not seem so sunny anymore. Maybe finance was the way to go? Now you are left with only two options: Return to your low, high schoolish lifestyle, including the local ways of dressing and speaking or rotting in sophisticated misery for three months? Listen to the soul you so proudly chose to keep.
10. Surviving on the three essentials: Smart Penn student like you, you come up with another way out: Focusing on only the three things you truly missed in college: Unlimited time to watch Netflix, driving, and your pets. Yes, it’s still going to be a long summer.
All gifs courtesy of giphy.com