A room of one’s own: coping with moving back home post-university

By Olivia O’Brien.

For most graduates, moving back home feels less like a convenient arrangement and more like a living nightmare. Gone are the days of cooking pizza in the early hours, having last minute house parties, and leaving cups around the house to grow impressive mould that looks like what can only be described as a national forest.

But are these changes such a bad thing?

Although we all like to believe that university is a place for us to grow, learn and develop as young adults, we are probably less house trained post-higher education than we were as freshers. So relish the fact that moving back home reminds you that washing up liquid does exist and that a Hoover is not part of an extravagant ghost busters costume but instead cleans your carpets. Enjoy living in a nice, comfortable, and draft free home once again and take pride in your personal space. Re-decorate your bedroom, create a replica of your university digs within those four walls and own them. It’s that place you can go to when it all gets too much.

You might have also noticed that the mundane such as forgetting to put the lid back on the biscuit tin or not picking your sister up from school sits at the forefront of conversations at home. It’s a far cry from “I have never” and “Ring of Fire” on a Friday night right? So change them. The only way to deal with boredom is either stimulate your surroundings, or alter them. But with very little cash flow as a graduate, trips to the cinema or nights out are hard to fund, so think about ways to bond with your parents. Watch a film together or even dust off the monopoly-you’d be surprised at how much fun you can have with a board and a couple of counters.

Another thing you might have noticed dwindling as you say goodbye to the summer months and days spent leisurely working at Wimbledon, is your parent’s patience. Although they may be the most understanding of parents, you will soon enough see a glimmer of resentment in their eye as they’ve funded your education and you’ve ended up still at home watching Jeremy Kyle three months down the line. In your mind, you’ve spent months scouring the internet for internships, grad schemes and potential post grad courses. In their mind, they’re funding a continuation of your lazy university lifestyle. So what you need to do is show them your progress. Let them take a look at your most recent application, show them your personal statement or CV­- I can guarantee they’ll be more than impressed with your achievements so far, dispersing any potential animosity.

And if you are looking to pursue a creative career such as journalism, publishing or entertainment, do not waste your time sitting at home scouring every inch of your town for paid work with nothing in return but cash; start writing a blog of your own. It’s something that ultimately represents you, something that a bog standard CV is missing and something that employers will appreciate. Not only this, get volunteering or help out with an event in your community. Although this might not seem to be directly linked to your chosen career, your CV will be padded out with things that show that you are not a time waster and you possess initiative; something that every employer is looking for.

Last but not least, do not feel disappointed in yourself that you’ve moved back home after three years of fun. Yes, lots of people are able to move out straight away and yes, way back when people were likely to leave home before the end of their teenage years, but like fashion, times are constantly changing. You should embrace it. When you were at university living on canned goods, I guarantee that all you wanted was a home cooked meal. Now is your chance to have one every evening.

So make yours and everybody else’s life a little bit easier and pick up that wet towel off the floor. It might not be a huge deal to you, but you not going out on a week night isn’t important to your parents either. There’s a gap which will have been created since you left home that needs to be bridged and it’s all about compromise. Once you’ve got that down, life living at home will be a breeze.

Don’t stop dreaming about that penthouse looking out over London however; it’s just around the corner. I promise.

You can read Olivia’s own blog here or follow her on Twitter @LondonLadybird

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