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A lot of college graduates view moving back in with their parents as some kind of failure, but that perception is more than flawed. Every student comes from a different background, location, and education—not every student can just expect to land a job and get their own apartment right away. For a healthy majority of students, moving back in with your parents is the financially safest way to begin life after school and save money for the future, so there’s no need to be ashamed of it. And though moving back into your childhood home is a great way to save money while you job hunt, you need to be conscious of your parents and the environment of their home.
You’ve been gone for three or four years and your parents have adjusted to living without you— you need to respect that. Don’t expect your parents to still baby you, but try not to take advantage of them if they decide to. Help your parents out whenever you can as a small thank-you for the free lodging (or lodging at all, if you’re paying them rent). If your mom insists on constantly preparing your meals, pitch in for groceries. If your dad is having trouble working his iPad, download the software update for him. Another rule to live by is always leave a room in the house the same way you found it. Pick up after yourself and keep messes confined to your bedroom where they won’t bother your parents (unless mom peeks in, of course).
Also, you need to make sure you are communicating with your parents about things like when you’re leaving and coming back at night, that way you’re not disturbing them. Or, if you’re planning on having friends over to the house, make sure to run that by them as well. Be as courteous as you were with your roommates in college (actually, 10 times more). Just think about how doing something in their space might affect your parents before you do it.
If you openly communicate with your parents, you can also avoid being treated like a child again. By addressing that issue right out of the gate when you move back in, they’ll know you’re now an adult and that they should treat you as such. Establishing that dynamic is crucial, especially if you’re getting into the dating scene—imagine your parents doting over your “special friend” and asking jokingly in front of them when the next “play date” will be (I’ll take a hard pass on that one).
There are plenty of personal bright sides to this lifestyle choice. By taking this time to move back in with your parents, you have the ability to apply to that dream job and some practical jobs, save up, and eventually be off on your own before you know it. Part-time and seasonal positions, specifically, are great ways to pass the time and save up cash while you’re investigating graduate schools or other careers, so take full advantage of them. They can also serve as resume-builders if your resume is currently lacking in professional working experience. Utilize these jobs as stepping stones for your career—even if they aren’t necessarily in the field. Any skills you acquire from a part-time job or internship can be made applicable to your future career; it’s all about how you explain them on your resume. For example, if you’re looking for a job in editing and writing, but you get a seasonal position as a bank teller, you put that you gained communication skills from being in customer service —a skill you will also need on your resume if you become a writer or editor.
As long as you treat your parents and their house with respect, you will survive living with them again after you graduate from college. But remember to also spend some quality time with your family before you get your own place—this is the last time you’ll be living with them (hopefully), so why not make it count?
Sarah DeLena is currently studying for her masters in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to become an editor of YA literature, her favorite genre, own at least two golden retrievers, and further the legacy of the Oxford comma.