I’d rather be home

Response to prompt: I’d Rather Be…

In a fit of procrastination the other day, I decided to have a look over the family website. That’s right, we have a family website. My dad came up with it however many years ago and still updates it every so often.

Reading what he’d written over the years made me feel a little homesick. I could practically hear him saying the words.

I don’t get homesick that often. Normally I’m too busy to think much about home and, when I do, it’s usually with a sense of cheerful fondness, rather than abject sadness and longing.

It’s probably only because of my current stress levels. I’m not sure how much they would decline at home, but at least I’d feel slightly less responsible for handling everything. I mean, I’d still have to worry about sorting out my life and academic work, but I wouldn’t have to also make time to deal with the bins, do grocery shopping, wash my stuff, do society liaising and sort out general house maintenance.

I guess I’d like to be a child for a little while longer so I don’t have to be solely responsible for looking after myself on top of everything else, but that’s not how life works. I’m 21. At some point, however many years into the future, I’d like to get a place of my own. Then (if that ever happens) I’d probably have to deal with the same things that I deal with now, hopefully minus society liaising. But, on the upside, the only mess that I’d have to deal with would be my own!

It’s funny. I always seem to end up being that person who passes information between people. I don’t mind if I know the people and am in a good mood, but most of the time I think things would be much more straightforward if they’d just speak to each other directly and leave me out of it. I don’t want to be a mouthpiece.

It’s partly my own fault. I keep putting myself into positions of responsibility because I’m a perfectionist and, even though I might hate the job that I’ve given myself, at least I know I’ll do it well.

I do like being able to help people through my contacts but I think I need to learn to take a step back and say “No. Here are the contact details for this person, you talk to them.”. Sometimes it feels like all I’m doing is passing miscommunications between people. It’s frustrating because normally I’m better than that, but I keep on making these stupid little mistakes and they’re going to add up sooner or later.

I can’t keep going about things the way that I have been doing because it’s not helpful to anyone. It’s extra stress on top of my degree and the miscommunication in of itself achieves nothing except having to spend even more time dealing with something that should have been simple. I am in my third and final year of university. I do not have time for this.

Maybe I should ask for clarification more often, for safety’s sake. There’s a lot of danger in making assumptions, and phrasing can make all the difference to meaning. I don’t know how great I am at getting my points across, but I do try to understand where the other person is coming from so I can at least work out what the potential problem is. However, if a full on interrogation has to be launched in order to understand someone’s meaning, then something has definitely gone wrong somewhere.

Communication is so important but doing it well is another thing entirely. At home it’s virtually a non-issue because I’ve grown up with my family and they know what I’m like. Three years at uni has affected that slightly but not enough to make exchanging casual information impossible. It’s different with strangers however, and sometimes it happens with my friends too: one person says something and its meaning is either hidden or instantly misconstrued.

I expect that from speech because it’s a spontaneous mode of communication, but not from written forms of correspondence (unless it’s to do with legal stuff because that’s where jargon and latinate words just get thrown everywhere!), and don’t even get me started on the pains of emailing academic staff!

At home, I don’t have to deal with that. I grew up in a small town. I know what the people there are like and vice versa. Talking to someone you’ve known for seemingly forever is easy.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not up for the challenge of communicating at uni, I’m just a little weary of it at the moment. I’m also tired of it being all on me, although I’m kind of used to the feeling at this point. I just want to go home, have some time to myself to recuperate, and then I’ll be ready to deal with the next problem.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if going home for the holidays is feasible anymore. As if the technological difficulties and breaking my ankle weren’t enough already, my well-meaning pilot study participant has stumbled into even more data collection road blocks.

My panicked tweets about the situation led to a WhatsApp discussion with mum. I’ve made alternative arrangements now but, even with my current deadline extension, I don’t know if I can save my project at this point. I’m starting to feel like it might only be possible if I sacrifice my holiday to do so, but the only way I’ll know for sure is through emailing my psychology supervisor (who’s been on strike for the entirety of this week) and there’s no point doing that until Monday.

Communication’s a bitch and so is third year. I would welcome a break from both, but I don’t think that I’m going to get one.

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