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Transitioning Home From College? The Ultimate Guide For Young Adults

Are you a student returning home from college? Whether it’s a short visit for spring break, a longer visit for summer vacation, or a permanent move, the transition can be hard.

Research has shown nearly 30% of college students move back home after earning their degree. This may be due to higher rent, lower-income, or a combination of both. A recent college grad with no full-time job lined up can often feel as though moving back home is their best financial decision, and in most cases this is true.

Maybe you realized college just wasn’t for you. No matter the reason behind the trip back home, there are a few things you should know that will be the stay smoother for everyone.

So, if you’re a young adult anxious about your return back to home sweet home, this article is for you.

Why Is The Transition Back Home So Difficult?

Going off to college is a monumental milestone for a young adult. Instead of the chains of rules, chores, and restrictions, they’re finally free to quite literally do whatever they want.

To say young adults are ecstatic to move back home is quite the overstatement. Oftentimes their situations force them to come back home, even if it isn’t ideal. It’s important as a student, and as the parent of one, to be patient with the adjustment process.

Here are a few of the biggest challenges you may face as a young adult moving back home from college, and what you can do about them:

#1: You May Not Feel Like Yourself

You may be surprised to find yourself walking back into your old room, with all your old possessions, but not feeling like you belong there.

College is a time of drastic growth, a rapid increase in responsibility, and life changing moments. After all is said and done you may truly be a different person. Show yourself patience and understand feeling this way is common.

Even the most familiar environments may feel foreign to you for awhile. This feeling can be particularly mind-altering as you begin to notice the negative aspects of home your brain may have chosen to forget while you were away.

As you come home and settle into old routines, you may feel ‘off’ as you have developed a new view of the world, different than what it was when you lived at home. This can bring about negative emotions and doubt about the choice to return back.

What You Can Do About This:

If you can, before you return home, reflect on the ways you’ve changed since you lived there last. Spend time thinking about how you may behave and react to scenarios differently than in the past.

Acknowledge that you may feel off being back home, but that these feelings often fade rather quickly.

Instead of being disappointed that moving home wasn’t everything you were expecting it to be, try and cultivate an attitude of gratefulness. Not everyone has a home they can return to, or parents they can fall back on when times get hard. Just because you may not feel how you were expecting, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with this situation.

#2: You May Not Feel Like An Adult Anymore

College is a time in which you transition from youth to an adult. Moving back home with your parents may feel like a giant step backward.

You may begin to feel smothered by parents who are trying to implement the same rules you had as a teen. If you give in, you may find you regress to old childlike behaviors such as expecting others to pick up after you. On the other hand, if you decide to fight back you may deal with intense pushback that isn’t healthy for anyone involved.

Or, perhaps you feel guilty and burdensome on your parents. Maybe you keep thinking to yourself that you shouldn’t be there because you are no longer a child. If left unchecked, these negative thinking habits can cause depression and anxiety.

What You Can Do About It:

One of the most effective ways to keep your status as an adult, despite the move, is to pull your weight. This can either be financially or helping maintain the household. If you have income, it’s only fair to chip in for even the electric or water bill. If your parents refuse to take your money held support the household by cooking dinners, working on needed projects around the house, or taking charge of feeding, watering, and walking the dogs every day. Even pitching in to do the laundry, vacuum the carpets weekly, or simply cleaning up after yourself will help set the tone and rewrite the past.

The more you act like an adult, the more you’ll feel like an adult. Keep in mind, that your parents knew you as a child. They may not know the adult version of you yet. The only way you can work towards being treated as such is to model your new responsible behavior for them.

#3: Moving Back Home Can Cause Relationship Strain With Family

Even if your parents welcome you home with loving arms, there’s a chance your new presence may cause a bit of a relationship strain.

You may find you begin to feel resentful when your parents implement old rules, or try and restrict your behavior. On the flip side, your parents may begin to hold grudges if you aren’t pulling your weight (nobody likes a freeloader).

When unresolved tension begins to build this can cause an explosion of unmet expectations, emotional responses, and negative feelings to come flying out, causing more harm than good.

Thankfully, in a 2012 survey, only 18% of students transitioning home from college said their relationship with their parents become worse after their return.

What You Can Do About It:

When it comes down to it, respect your parent's rules. While you may immediately feel the need to fight back with what I just said, hear me out. Your parents legally don’t have to let you back home. In many cases, you would be much worse off relying on an entry-level job and student loans to pay rent. Be thankful they’re allowing you to stay - in some cases, rent-free.

Some parents may be giving up their own financial freedom by having you back so the least you can do is show respect to their wishes. Oftentimes, it may not be that they don’t trust you, but rather that this home is their home too.

For example, if your parents set regulations around when you can have friends over, how late they can stay, and how loud you can play your music, don’t think of it as them trying to control you or ruin your fun. Think like a logical adult: they don’t want to be awoken in the night to loud noises or sudden thuds as they try to sleep peacefully in their own home.

Transitioning Home: An Overview

So, you’re a student coming back home? While America has this grand idea of college students leaving home, never to return again, this is often not the case.

In some countries, young adults don’t even leave home until they get married and are set to begin a family. Don’t view your return home as backtracking. Think of it as a new chapter in a book you’ve already read. You may know what to expect, but there are always surprises and challenges that lie ahead.

If you find the return home isn’t all you’ve cracked it up to be, keep in mind that this is normal, and these feelings will likely pass as you get settled.

Is your relationship with your parents not what it used to be? If you find they are still treating you like a child, instead of talking about how you’re an adult now, show them. Help out around the house, clean up after yourself and support financially if possible.

Soon, you will find this return home is only the beginning of a new journey that awaits.


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