Moving Back Home After College
I graduated in May of 2012 from Michigan State University, and the fresh imprint of memories and emotions in my mind are like wet cement left out to dry. It was only seven months ago that I was slaving away in a library while trying to maintain and mend friendships and relationships. My feeling of growth and accomplishment still depends on the achievements that I look back on in school. But the challenge wasn’t over once I finished my last final exam of my senior year of college. In a way, the challenge was just beginning. Not only was the stress of finals enough to break me, but on top of that rested a layer of worry about the future. Where was I going to apply to get a job? Where did I want to live? How long am I going to have to live at home? Moving back home after college was a challenge and a blessing, and here’s why.
More than half of college graduates move back home, sociologist Katherine Newman wrote in her book, “The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition,” based on surveys conducted worldwide. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 53% said they live at home or moved in temporarily.
Having no immediate job prospects right out of college, I was moving back home with the intent to ‘rest and revive’. Just a couple weeks of couching it and eating in, and I would be ready to start my job search. Living at home allowed me to save money while I was prepping for my big future plans and career.
After moving back home after college, my motto of ‘rest and revive’ quickly became ‘run errands and re-organize’ once Mom stepped in. As much as I love my mom and would do anything for her, she began to cramp my style. The passive aggressive comments flew over the phone during her lunch break, and arguments arose over dinner. Something was off. We noticed our bad change in habits and sat down to talk about them. What was the issue? We came to the conclusion that I was expecting my complete and total freedom while she was expecting the utmost respect for her house rules and policies as a tenant in her own home. After some time, we came to a compromise.
It was after this conversation that I had begun to realize that my expectation of complete and total freedom from my mother was in fact a tactic to survive in college, and unrealistic in my new circumstance. In college, the only way to grow and learn about myself was to deny and even ignore some rules and advice that my Mom had given me, and I’m grateful I did. I have learned a lot. After joining the club ultimate Frisbee team, studying abroad in Rome, and making it through each and every exam, I no longer needed to ignore her knowledge. Our compromise was that I started to follow her rules.
I began to meet curfew, and run her errands, and our relationship began to patch up. What she had to say to me was a lesson that I needed to learn. We began to go out to dinner, just the two of us, and talk about ourselves and bond. Working with her, instead of against her, made life peaceful. After I had learned to live together with my parents, opportunities for jobs began to flood into my life.
As my lively relationship with my mother became stronger, I began to attend more events with her. I would join her Go Red for Women meetings, meet her for lunch, and enjoy evenings out on the town. I would meet people she worked with, as well as some of her friends who were deep in the job market and had plenty of connections. One evening my mother and I decided to get dinner at our local country club. Coincidentally there was an event honoring an old teacher’s retirement that same evening. Since we knew pretty much all the attendees, we thought we would pop in and say hello. In the midst of all the drinks and jibber jabber, I struck up a conversation with an old teacher who had a brother who he claimed was “connected.” I gave him my resume that night, and have been employed ever since.
Moving back home after college was a very difficult thing to endure after four years of freedom. But after the confusion, disagreements, and difficulties of living at home, I created a new relationship with my mother. That relationship allowed us to work as a team instead of as two independents. Working together allowed me to move forward in my life, which I am forever grateful for.