As I am graduating in 2007 I have made it a priority to make friends with people in first year. It has caused me to reflect on the experiences of being a true first year, and also to just reflect on their comments to me. (side note: thanks to Marijke for saying that i should be nominated for the Student Life Award on the basis that i liked first year at Redeemer so much that i came back to do it again)
Anyway, the term I use to describe the life of a student is Plug and Play. Usually a term associated with technology and the ability to just plug something in and begin using it, without having to install anything.
This I feel gets easier as the years wear on, but when you first move a way from home it is very obvious to you. You move away, you start to change, to become a different person. Then you go home and are expected to be the same person you were when you left. The student is supposed to plug back into the family dynamic as if nothing has happened. When in reality everything has happened.
The jumping point for alleviation of this situation comes from the choice of summer residence. If the student moves home it is merely a quick fix. Everything is jake for the summer and starts again the first time they go home again (though they are older and therefore wiser, and able to handle it better). If they stay away for the summer the family dynamic is forced to make a more permanent change.
that's all I have to say about that.