By SHAWNYA PETERSON
You’ve just graduated, diploma in hand and ready to begin life in the real world. Now, the first step is… to move back into your childhood bedroom at your parents’ house. After four years of living more or less on your own, moving home after graduation can feel like a step backwards, in no small part due to the social stigma associated with it.
In fact, when one types “moving home after college” into Google, the first suggestions that pop up are “depression” and “no friends.”
When asked about moving home after college, Jada Steward, a junior English and communications and digital studies double major, talked about the negative associations that come with it. “The stigma surrounding moving home is an undeserved product of the trap that is a college education—if you don’t get one, you’re screwed; if you do get one, you’re screwed. It is a viable option for those who don’t want to start their lives in debt.”
Steward continued with her post-grad plans, touching on the difficulties many students encounter with their newfound independence. “I am personally refusing to move home after college, which requires careful planning on my part if I want the start of my post-college life to be manageable.”
After college, recent graduates have their hands full with graduate school applications, apartment hunting, landing a job and financing all of the above. Making the move back home can give them a chance to return to their roots and, in this time of transition, offer some much needed stability. The familiarity of a parent’s home combined with the presence of loved ones can help ease the stress of post-grad life.
Even so, stability can come from many sources, and not every college student’s family is willing or able to welcome them home after they finish their education. When I left for college, my dad regularly reminded me that I was welcome to come home whenever I wanted – just name the weekend and he’d be here to pick me up. However, everyone’s family dynamics are different. “I think it is important for those who are welcome back at home to remember that this is a privilege not all of their peers can enjoy,” Steward said.
For example, aside from providing a familiar setting post-graduation, living at home can also be a way to save money while you find your footing. Even if your parents decide to charge rent, chances are that your old bedroom is a cheaper option than leasing an apartment. While it may seem like an unnecessary step backwards, the money saved will allow you to get a head start on your student loan payments and start building your savings, all while kick-starting your career.
When it comes down to it, only you can decide what path you follow after graduation; but remember that, despite the stigma, there’s no shame in returning home. It does not necessarily have to be a lonely or isolating experience. It is what you make of it, and can be an opportunity for growth just as much as starting out on your own. Moving back home doesn’t mean you’re taking steps backwards.
It simply means that that you’re stepping out into the world with your supporters around you rather than behind you.