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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Moving home after college no cause for shame

    This spring break was a rite of passage for me. No, I didn’t flock to a beach somewhere and spend my week trying to savor my dwindling days of college. Instead, I moved home – well, sort of. I actually moved in with my boyfriend’s parents, but I suppose it’s all the same.

    Why, you ask. Well, our apartment lease terminates at the end of March, and this summer we’ll be moving across the country to set up house before I start medical school in August. For us, moving home is all about saving some green before we leave the nest for good. It’s good financial sense, if you ask me.

    What once was a cause for shame is now our cultural norm. To be honest, moving in with the folks has become kind of cool, for lack of a better word. It offers a familiar environment as one embarks on the path to adulthood, and really, the free rent is unbeatable.

    As the economic gloom continues to darken and jobs continue to evaporate, moving in with mom and dad makes more and more sense. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “”It may not be the most glamorous of digs, but more 20-somethings may look to Mom and Dad for shelter during the recession.””

    According to a poll conducted by CollegeGrad.com, the self-proclaimed “”number one entry level job site,”” 77 percent of 2008 college graduates moved home after graduation. It seems I’ve simply beat many of my fellow graduating seniors to the U-Haul.

    “”Boomerangers,”” or these 20-somethings who move home, cite many reasons for the trek, but most relate to money. As you may have heard, the real world beckons after graduation. Student loans come due. Rent and bills pile up. And that six-figure job you dreamed of landing right after school just isn’t there. What’s more, there may not be any job out there at all as layoffs and cutbacks abound.

    But moving home no longer carries the punchline it once did.

    In generations past, moving back home was often seen as a sign of failure or a lack of independence. But now, returning to the nest seems to be a fiscally sound decision in a world that is severely lacking in fiscal responsibility. In fact, moving home proves to be the first step on the road to an independent life for many recent college grads.

    David Morrison, president of the consulting firm Twentysomething, Inc., says, “”There used to be a great deal of stigma attached to the decision to move back home. That doesn’t necessarily exist anymore.”” With the economy tanking and jobs disappearing, he says, “”it’s a very rational move to make.””

    While moving home offers the chance to save big on room and board, it also presents a slew of challenges. Who does dishes? Laundry? Is there a curfew? What about boyfriends and girlfriends? Or one-night stands (if that’s more your style)?

    The answers to these questions will vary from home to home, but it’s generally better to err on the side of respect. Pitch in with the chores, respect your parents and demonstrate some maturity. Your parents aren’t your college roommates, they’re parents, and they’re throwing you a pretty big bone. Be grateful and gracious.

    In addition, it’s important for the new graduate to act like an adult and assert his or her independence. Parents, for their part, should establish boundaries and lay some ground rules. By doing so, expectations are explicit and clear.

    Moving home isn’t simply a continuation of your childhood, just as college wasn’t an extended pause. Instead, moving home offers a chance to gather your bearings and get your ducks in a row. It’s a transition period that facilitates independence, although it doesn’t necessarily beget independence, for one must work hard to obtain self-sufficiency.

    So while the federal government keeps doling out bailouts to every major corporation in America, it’s nice to know that parents are there to bail out their new college graduate, if only for a few months.

    Just remember, there’s no shame in fiscal responsibility and good sense. Hold your head high when you make the move, for you’re not alone.

    -ÿJustin Huggins is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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