Hey, guys! As you all probably know, I am living with my parents as a Freshman in college. In high school, the thought of not living in a dorm seemed like the end of the world. Everyone moves out after graduation, right?
Actually, no. I was surprised to see how many people live with their parents in college to save money. The millennials before us have taught us about debt and the reasons to avoid it, so many smart 18-year-olds are avoiding it the best they can. If you’re reading this, you are obviously considering the option or have already decided to live with your parents, so here are some tips on how to “survive?”
//They Need To Want You There
“But Trish, of course they want me home! I’m their kid!”
Uh…no. My dad went to the parents’ orientation and was telling me in awe about how many parents were like, “They’re out of the house! Woohoo!” Americans are weird….
Before I get into more detail, I will start with this, I come from a culture where it’s not strange to stay at home during college. This is actually how college works in a lot of countries. I wouldn’t even be expected to leave home until I’m married if I were living in Bangladesh.
My parents are actually pretty modern. They’ve been in America for the majority of their lives and wouldn’t mind me living in a dorm, but me being home really helps them out. Them wanting me there is one of the reasons this setup works. This brings me to my next point.
//You Need To Contribute Something
You are an adult. Your parents are doing you a great service by letting you live there. Some parents may expect you to pay rent. If they don’t, help out around the house. Do chores. Pay for some of the groceries. This tip isn’t on their expense. It’s for yours. Honestly, most college students want to feel like adults. You won’t feel that way unless you are contributing something.
For example, I am contributing to my mother’s sanity. I should explain this a bit more. My brother has pretty severe nonverbal autism, so my mom needs a lot of help. I assist her a lot in terms of taking care of him and it sort of worries me for her when I do move out. This year especially has shown me how much she needs me. But I won’t bother you with the qualms of special-needs-sibling guilt. That is for another post.
My point is, I wouldn’t be nearly as happy as I am right now living at home if it weren’t for the fact that I wasn’t helping out. That’s just the type of person I am and I’m sure most people don’t like the feeling of being helpless or a burden. Besides, you owe ’em.
//You Need To Like Your Parents
This should go without saying. I mean, there’s a difference between loving and liking your parents as people. If you can’t enjoy or at least tolerate their company, you won’t have a good experience living at home. On that note…
//Don’t Go Home
I should probably rephrase that as “Don’t Spend So Much Time At Home,” but I’m sure that got your attention. You’re definitely going to feel left out when you see your friends doing whatever they want without they’re parents watching over them, so spend more time on campus than at home. Or do something that’ll let you feel somewhat free. You will still have a lot more freedom than you did in high school, so enjoy it!
Plus, the less time you spend at home, the less likely it’ll be for you and your parents to but heads.
//Spend Time With Your Friends
I’m gonna be honest with you, it gets lonely. It’s a lot harder to make close lifelong friends when you’re not seeing anyone on a regular basis (which in college means living on the same hall). When you commute, the only people you see regularly are the people in class, but that’s only for 3-4 hours a week and that only lasts three months. When I want to meet up with friends, I have to plan it out. I have to make sure I’m on campus and don’t have a class. Even though finding room in your schedule can be annoying, it’s worth not losing your sanity.
Friends make everything better. Cultivating relationships is the best thing to do in college.
//Think About The Benefits Of Living At Home
This’ll make you feel better. I remind myself that I have no student loans and how much money I’m saving. I enjoy the fact that I get to spend time with my family (because I actually like them). I am way closer to my mom now and I can play with Mysoon because of all the time I have (not getting drunk every weekend). I have my own room. Someone cooks me dinner every night. Those are not small things to disregard.
Money is the biggest thing that factors into living at home, but don’t forget about everything else you’re gaining. Take advantage of the situation. This setup doesn’t last forever.
They are letting you live with them. Legally, they could kick you out if they wanted to. Appreciate everything they do for you. I feel grateful every day, but that doesn’t mean I say it as much as I should. Does anyone ever say thank you, enough? Sure, things may suck, but you’re not out on the streets. It’s amazing how many homeless college students there are. It’s more common than you think.
//Your Parents Need To Treat You Like An Adult
This has never been a huge problem for my parents. They’ve always treated me like an adult (within reason). I think its’s just one of those things that come with having a special needs sibling. Here’s the thing, you are an adult. There are boundaries. They don’t have a right to every aspect of your life anymore. Your parent’s don’t need to act as if you’re they’re equal. They just need to respect you. If they don’t, make sure to gain that respect. It’s not going to work out otherwise.
Again, this was never really a problem with my parents. Since I’ve started college, they have been a lot less nosey (they weren’t that nosey before) and I don’t really need to ask permission for much. Somewhere along the line, I could just tell them what I was doing without asking for approval. That’s probably been the biggest transition.
//It’s Really Not That Bad
I feel like society nowadays portrays living with your parents as worst case scenario. It really isn’t that bad. It may not be what you expected, but life is anything but that. I’ve genuinely enjoyed living at home. Eventually, I would like to move out during college, but that’s not really my priority right now.
Well, I guess that’s it. I’ve got nothing else to say. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or shoot me an email.