When you’re in college, you enjoy a considerable amount of freedom – from your family, your hometown, and any notions of your high school self. No doubt about it, the college experience slowly molds you into an independent adult, who‘s got both the know-how and drive to crush it during young adulthood.
That’s why it can be disappointing to realize that you must move back home—well, to say the least. Maybe, you have to give up your off-campus pad until classes resume in the fall. Perhaps, your college has elected to remain online through the end of the year, and you can’t justify living hours from home while taking online courses. Or, you could even be a recent graduate planning to live at home as you’re on the hunt for your next opportunity.
Though moving back home can put a damper on your newfound independence, it’s not all bad. Your family is probably super jazzed that you’re coming home, and you must admit that taking a break from the responsibilities of maintaining your off-campus apartment will certainly reduce a bit of stress. That’s not to say that moving back home won’t take some getting used to. Here are a few ways to adjust to your new living situation, whether you’re back at home for a few weeks or the foreseeable future.
We won’t sugarcoat things: moving home can be a huge buzzkill, once you’ve grown accustomed to the college lifestyle of doing whatever you want, whenever you want – within reason, of course! You might also feel a little sad that you don’t have your own place to call home, when other friends are posting proof of their new digs on Instagram. Though it’s totally normal to feel this way, don’t forget the first rule of moving back home: practicing and exhibiting gratitude.
Practicing gratitude ensures that you never lose sight of your blessings – even if you’re going home to a less-than-ideal situation, like a shared room with your younger siblings, or a household where tensions can run high. Remember, many college students do not have the option to move back home when the need arises. If your parents are letting you stay at home, rent-free (or rent-reduced), show your appreciation by picking up groceries when you can, cleaning up around the house, or simply voicing your gratitude. These small gestures will mean the world to your folks and help you feel better, too.
Establish a few ground rules.
When in college, you ruled your off-campus crib – and rightfully so, since it was your space! Now that you’ve moved back home, odds are that you’ll end up going head-to-head with your parents, should you decide to keep living your life without considering their input or perspective. In other words, if you’re moving back home, you’ve got to find a way to set up boundaries, ASAP – or risk making the transition from campus to home tense and uncomfortable.
Luckily, all it takes is a few solid ground rules to make living at home as a college student or recent graduate as painless as possible. The rules you set with your parents will vary based on your needs—and theirs— but may involve simple guidelines, like treating all parties as adults or adhering to family rules regarding dinnertime and curfew. Sure, reminding your parents to talk to you like the 20-something you are may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be well worth the effort once you’re able to come home late without causing a stir.
Learn what you can from the experience.
The college curriculum will teach you about everything from ancient history to next-generation technology. But, what it won’t teach you are the basic things necessary to successful “adulting,” like how to file your taxes or invest money for your future. So, while you’re stuck at home, why not use this time to get a grip on those lesser-taught skills? Your parents or family members will probably be thrilled to help you master these topics, and if you play your cards right, you could move back out with tons of additional knowledge about those little, self-taught nuances inherent of adulthood.
Living at home is also a great opportunity to take advantage of resources that extend past your family’s knowledge. Can’t remember the last time you took a fitness class for fun, or read a book that wasn’t required by your professor? Why not sign up for a free yoga class at the community center, or swing by the local library for a fun fiction book? Learning doesn’t end just because college is over, whether for summer break or for good—looking at you, new college grads! Keep your mind engaged and boredom at bay by taking this opportunity to learn cool, new skills that will ultimately help you in the long run.
Find time for yourself.
Take it from us: when you live at home, well-meaning family members will unknowingly try to take up most of your free time. From the fun-loving grandma, who missed you more than anything, to the kid sister eager to make up for lost playtime, finding an opportunity to hang out solo can be a feat when you’re residing at home with your folks. Yet, it’s a crucial thing to do, if you want to remain balanced and level-headed – AKA, your best self.
Though you should prioritize hanging out with family members while you can, building a life outside of home is a great way to put some occasional distance between you and your parents. Joining a gym, reconnecting with high school friends, or taking a summer class or extra certification course are all great ways to keep your personal and professional life alive, even when you’re living under your parents’ roof. You can also search for a part-time job, which will keep you occupied and help you earn an income. We call that a win-win!
If you’re gearing up to move back home, you might be experiencing a wide range of emotions, from anger and sadness to hopefulness and everything in between. However, moving back home doesn’t have to be a misstep in your #adulting journey. Need proof? Just follow these suggestions from your friends at uCribs, and you’ll be able to see the silver linings of moving back in with your parents—as annoying and embarrassing as they might be sometimes.