The end of your time in college is a trying one. You’re saying goodbye to many friends who may live far away from you. You’re not sure what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. You’re losing that “young and free” feeling.
But there’s worse to come—you are moving back in with your parents.
This is a rite of passage. And you sincerely appreciate everything they’re doing for you, whether it involves helping out with finances in college, mailing care packages, or even sending friendly text messages that say, “You can do it!” as you prepare for your final college exams. You are grateful they’re allowing you to move back into their house so you can get yourself up on your feet and start the next chapter of your life.
However, you are still moving back in with your parents and therefore, you have to prepare for the following:
1. Transitioning back to your teenage self.
“God, Mam! You just don’t understand me!” Does this sound familiar? Because it will. You have just left a life of relative luxury and freedom and have come back to a life filled with chores, rules, and parental meddling. You inevitably revert back to your fifteen-year-old self to deal with your environment. You cringe when you’ve had enough time to recollect on what you’ve said/done in an outburst of teenage-like rebellion. I’ve seen my brother, who’s over 30, come home for a visit over a weekend and briefly allow his inner 15-year-old to have a sarcastic word or two. It is inevitable. Prepare to feel foolish.
2. You know nothing and your parents know everything.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when beginning college was this: You are studying subjects that your parents know nothing about and are therefore experts in them. While my college years were briefly flaked with minor comments regarding my major (psychology), never before have my parents appeared to have such a knowledge in the subject. Their opinions generally have no support backing them up and have a very loose train of thought through the entire argument, but at the end of the day, they are right and I am wrong. No matter how many articles you cite or carefully controlled experiments you use to back up your point, you will not win the argument. This will be frustrating. I find it helps to take deep breaths and make phone calls to fellow psych majors.
3. Say goodbye to your freedom to party.
Gone are the days of your college social life. Now you have to respect your parents’ wishes. If you want to go out with friends for drinks and have a fun sleepover with the new guy/girl that you’ve been seeing, you’d better get cracking on that cover story. You want to creep in the door at 6AM in the morning? My advice: Take your shoes off to the door, know where the creaking floorboard is (in my house it’s just outside my parents’ room), and learn to be light on your feet. You want to go out for drinks on a work night? Well have fun, but make sure the stern looks and disapproving comments from your mother are worth it.
4. Five minutes of peace and quiet become heaven.
Whatever you are doing is not as important as what your parents want you to do. Accept this. It’s their house and their rules, and you have to adhere to this. So what if you’re in the middle of reading The Red Wedding chapter-by-chapter? You’re caught up in the misery and the blood and George R.R. Martin’s lack of morality or soul, so of course this is the exact time that your mother is going to call you make her a cup of tea or put a watermelon in the fridge. You’re in the middle of a long and arduous job application? Good. Now is the time you’re needed to put clothes in the washing machine. You’ve just walked up the stairs to bury your face in your pillow and curl up under the covers after a long day at work in your temporary job? You’re needed downstairs to turn off the radio. There’s no escaping it. Cherish the precious moments while you can.
Despite it all, you have a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and parents who are supporting you. It’s not a bad thing. It will drive you insane, but it will also provide you with wonderful motivation and drive to succeed at reaching where you want to go in life. Because with great success comes great freedom—or at least the ability to move back out of your parent’s home.