Standing in the ranks on graduation day, I felt like I was the only one shaking in my cap and gown. Yet, I soon found out I wasn’t alone—searching for a job while struggling to pay rent is a scary prospect for pretty much everyone.
While I went straight from the classroom to a cubicle in a new city, many of my friends lived at home for six months to a year after graduation to ease themselves into adulthood. For those of you contemplating a move back home with Mom and Dad, my friends offered some helpful hints to cope with the curfews, awkward personal questions and outdated ‘80s rock references that come with moving home.
Keep your eye on the prize
It can come as a shock that your days of living off noodles in a cup and sticking to dollar-store shampoo didn’t protect you from taking on the $20,000 in student loan debt the average undergrad earns along with their degree.
Keeping financial independence in your sight, like an oasis in the desert, can soften the blow of bunking in your old bedroom. Remember that as a ‘boomerang kid,’ your cost of living is minimal compared to what some of your friends are paying in rent alone, not to mention you get the perk of occasional home cooking.
In the meantime, it’s best to start planning how you’ll repay all those loans you’d rather ignore. The Project on Student Debt can point you to online resources that can help you manage your debt before it becomes too overwhelming. Plus, now that your parents are within shouting distance, you’ll have plenty of time to solicit their financial advice.
Say goodbye to some stuff—and insure the rest
Before you pack up and leave campus, consider selling your used items to eager underclassmen. You can make some extra cash and take a ‘grown-up’ step by saying goodbye to things that scream ‘dorm room’ (read: foldable furniture and mini-fridges). And when it comes to Animal House wall art, patio chairs made from cinder blocks and that upside-down tub you turned into an end table, you may want to just throw those away.
Whatever doesn’t make it into your new (or old) bedroom can easily be held in storage units. When storing your belongings, especially big-ticket items like electronics or furniture, you’ll want to make sure they’re insured. But some items in storage can only be insured for a limited time or at a low percentage of their actual value—so make sure to triple-check your policy and know what your stuff is worth.
Mind your manners
You might be tempted to revisit the tantrums of your teenage years from time to time, but remember that your parents are doing you a favor by letting you live at home again. Thank them as often as possible, clean up after yourself and try not to freak out when your mom calls you ‘snookums’ in front of your friends.
Also, be proactive about your future and work with your parents to create a timeline of your next steps. They have a lot of life experience behind them, so consider asking them to review your resumé or provide a practice interview. And even if you begin to enjoy the old comforts of home, make sure to pound the pavement for potential jobs. Sitting on the couch eating cheese puffs is fun, but I know you’re better than that.