The College Grad’s Guide to Moving Back Home

I recently asked readers for inspiration on a topic that they would want to read about as a college student/grad. One response was, “ways to accept living with your parents after college.”

If you’re a college grad, you’ve probably already adapted to sweatpants, netflix, and endless nagging of the ‘rents. The most important thing to remember during this, what seems like hell, time of your life is that you are not alone.

45% of recent college graduates live at home following graduation.

That’s almost half of all college graduates! You’re extremely lucky these days to have a job ready and waiting, as well as having the money to up and leave. And ‘lucky’ might not even be the best word to describe it. As a college grad who has been sitting on her couch for the last two months, living off of graduation gift money and home-cooked meals, finally receiving a job and signing a lease for my own apartment is all of a sudden not looking all that glamourous – who knew independence would cost so much!

There are ways to survive this, hm, what should we call it? Depression seems a bit dramatic, but it’s sure a good description of what leaving the best four years of your life behind just to move back in with mom and dad feels like.

The college grad’s guide to moving back home:

1. Accept it.
Okay, so, as great as running away sounded when you were a kid, it kind of seems even better now, if that’s even possible. But, just like that time at age six when you packed your bag and set off on your bike, you’d probably only make it a couple of blocks before you realize going home to eat your vegetables might just be easier. The best, and first, thing you can do when moving back home, is embrace it. Look at the bright side: free groceries, free roof over your head, free cable/internet, free air conditioning, free laundry, free, free, and oh yeah, free. The four letter word that could make any heart skip a beat is one you’ll miss when you eventually move out. Not to mention, you also probably have someone doing your free laundry, cooking your free food, and making your free bed. Hm, I already made you realize living at home might not be so awful, huh?

2. Get a job.
Yeah, I know, you’re sitting at your computer sending out twenty copies of your resume a day and you’re busy re-writing your cover letter so it’s bullshitted just enough for that one job, right? Pick up a side job until you get the real job so that 1. you’re saving up for when it’s time to haul ass out of here and 2. you’re not constantly home all day listening to mom and dad. Waitressing, babysitting, work at a day-camp, bookstore, ice cream parlor, lifeguard, whatever! There are tons of jobs that, even if you feel much more qualified with that college degree, can make you money, keep you busy, and most importantly, keep you out of the house! Pajama pants and Netflix can only get you so far my friend, and even if applying to career jobs feels like a full time job in itself, sadly it’s not.

3. Spend time with your friends now, before it’s too late.
Seeing my friends was always one of my favorite parts of going home during the holidays, and just because you’ve officially moved home shouldn’t make it any less special. Soon enough, all of you will have nine to five jobs and will be too tired to even look at each other on the weekends. Spend time with your friends while you still can! Because soon enough you’ll have to schedule days off way in advance for a long weekend away with them!

4. Travel.
You don’t have to go crazy, here. Most people can’t afford a huge trip to another country after graduation (but if you can, go for it!!). But, it’s still nice to have the time to take a road trip with friends or family and see some new places in nearby states! There’s tons of neat places to see that you don’t even know about, so go and check them out while you still can.

5. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re done school.
It’s easy to look around and feel like tons of people are starting school or will be moving back at the end of August. It’s also easy to start looking into grad school. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have to go back to school, you shouldn’t. It seems like a good idea because ‘you’re not ready to be done’ or ‘you don’t know what you’re going to do with your life’, but in reality, it’s a big waste of money – and time. College grads seem to think of it as an easy way out to put off being a real adult for at least a couple more years. Wait until you have a job that will pay for you to go back to school! Trust me, once midterms and finals roll back around for all your friends still in school, you’ll remember why you’re so thrilled that you never have to write a 25-page research paper again.

6. Look into applying for summer internships.
College graduates tend to look at internships as beneath them, but they can be a really great start! It’s hard to get a job right away, since every one seems like so much experience is needed! You need experience to get hired, but you need to get hired for experience? Ugh, it’s never-ending. But – if you look into internships, paid or unpaid, while living at home, they can be a doorway to a job! Most college graduates who stick out a summer internship end up working for that company. And again, it’s a great way to get out of the house while transitioning into the working world.

7. Remember that your parents are just as much not used to you being home as you are.
Try not to fight with your parents. I know, it’s easier said than done. Parents can be overbearing, nosey, and just plain annoying at times. This time in both of your lives is just as hard on them as you feel it is on you. Hell, those four years went by quicker for them than they did for you. And just because they missed you like crazy, doesn’t mean they didn’t enjoy the peace and quiet (If your mom is Italian like mine is, she’ll never admit it, but I know it’s true!). Here’s the thing, you are now deemed as an adult, whether you like it or not, and it truthfully means you should start acting like one, even if you are living back at home and mommy is putting your clothes away for you. The better you treat your parents, the better they will treat you, and the more likely they are to leave you alone! Just remember, one day you won’t be living at home anymore and even if you can’t wait, you will miss it and you will miss them, so enjoy it while it lasts.

8. Realize that you are not alone (excuse the repetition).
It seems really scary. And maybe two or three of your college or high school buddies have landed themselves jobs and maybe even already moved into their own places. Those two friends can feel like everyone and can make you feel more than discouraged. But if you look beyond those few, you realize most college grads are in your shoes, too. It’s a scary time, it’s a big change, and it feels like it may never end. Just remember that if you keep trying, eventually everything else will fall into place for you, too. This is not the end (even if it feels like it), it is just the beginning.

I promise you, if you could see what I owe for just my first month’s apartment rent (including security deposit, application fee, holding deposit, cable/internet, and utilities) on my entry-level paying job, you won’t be begging to leave home just yet either. After seeing what it costs, I would definitely live at home if I had landed a job that wasn’t out of state. Still, I also know what it feels like to want to hop on that bike and never look back. So, take the good with the bad, take the free meals with the twenty-one questions at the dinner table, and just breathe. Before you know it, this will just be another past time in your life and you won’t be able to believe how quickly it passed.

– C

What are some of your own tips to survive moving home after college? Comment below!

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