By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager
If you’re a college graduate who has had to move back home with Mom and Dad, don’t worry: You’re not alone. According to a December 2011 Pew study, 29% of college graduates have moved home with their parents due to increasing student loans and a tough job market.
I know, it’s not exactly a pretty picture. Moving home is tough, not only because you’ve gotten used to the freedom of living on your own, but because you were probably ready to start working, saving money, and planning out your life.
But moving home will only be demoralizing if you let it. Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself positive and motivated, and help your parents at the same time.
3 Things to Focus on If You’re Moving Home
Contribute, Contribute, Contribute
One of the toughest parts of moving home is the toll it takes on your self-worth. We define our adulthood by certain milestones—getting that first job, making a decent salary, and then renting or purchasing your own place—so if you haven’t met those yet, it’s easy to get discouraged.
Contributing to the household bills is one way to keep your self esteem up. Set up an arrangement with your parents when you move home regarding how much you’ll contribute to the mortgage, groceries, and utility bills. Even if you’re unemployed and unable to contribute financially, you can still make a difference by helping out around the house, cooking dinner, and running errands your parents might not have time for.
If you’re moving home because you haven’t found a job, your days may be spent in front of a computer, combing the internet for job postings. This is a great way to keep your job search moving forward, but make sure you get out of the house too. Volunteer to keep your job skills sharp, and consider a part-time job to put some spending money in your pocket. (In between jobs I’ve often waited tables, allowing me to bridge the gap and stay current on credit card and student loan debt.) Staying busy will give you something to put on your resume, keep your spirits up, and most important, make sure you don’t slide into the dangerous habit of daytime TV.
Keep Making Plans
So you probably had a life plan in mind after college graduation, and now it seems completely shot down. Ok. Take a minute or two to feel bad about it, and then get started on a new one. You can’t do anything about the fact that the job market is horrible, or that you had to move home to make ends meet, but you are the one in charge of what happens next. What are your new goals and how will you meet them? Since you can’t find the job you want, will you take this opportunity to try a new field, learn a new skill, or start your own business?
While moving home might not have been on your agenda after graduation, you can find a way to make the most of it and stay hopeful for the future. As Vivian Green once said, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!”