After months of studying for exams and stressing over revision, they’re finally over and you can breathe a deep sigh of relief. But what happens next? The dream is that you get that 2.1 or first class honours, you scoop the job of your dreams in the big city and move into a fabulous house or apartment with some friends. The reality is somewhat different.
So many more graduates than ever before are being forced to move back in with their parents after graduation because of the lack of jobs and it can seem like a huge slap in the face after studying for a degree that you thought was going to open doors for you. Put simply, a degree just isn’t enough any more, you need heaps of experience and plenty more to set you apart from the crowds flocking to each interview. There will always be those people who walk out of university into a top job and secure the gorgeous flat and live an amazing life, but for the rest of us, there is a little bit more hard work involved. So if your CV just isn’t enough to set you apart, or you just cannot afford to live out on such a small wage and you are forced to move home, don’t worry! Moving back in with the rents is not the end of your social life, it is not a step back and it does not mean you are a loser.
You may not believe it at first, but as someone who moved back in with the rents after graduating, and who has lived back there now for two years, I am here to tell you it can actually be a huge opportunity! Here’s just some of my top reasons why:
Living with your parents gives you the opportunity to save some serious cash, either by living rent free or by bargaining your rent down to a minimal amount. I was very lucky and my parents don’t really need the rent money so they have put it aside for me to use as a deposit for a house when I move out. Either way, you will be paying a lot less than you would if you were renting a place, that is, unless your parents are really tight! You should make this your first thought and whether you are working in a great job, or just an in-between job for some cash, be thinking long-term. You will be wanting to move out or go travelling within a year or two and you will need some dollar to do it. Be sensible with your money and start putting some away into a high interest savings account or ISA as soon as you get your wages so that you can make some serious savings.
Now on the flip-side of saving cash – spend it and live big! This is the last time in your life you will be able to be young, free and think only of yourself, at least until you are retired! You can spend money on great holidays, gigs, clothes you’ll never wear and you don’t have to worry about paying rent, mortgages, looking after children or the rest. It’s time to do all those things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the money to do, or haven’t been old enough or had a long enough break from education. I’ve spent all money, other than my savings, on travelling to Malta, Croatia, Ireland, to festivals across the country, gigs and all sorts. I’ve had the best two years living life like a girl in her twenties should be, instead of worrying about bills and making ends meet like those who are living out.
At first it will seem like hell, moving back will see your parents revert to worrying about you and checking up on you because you will be right in front of them. Give them a break, they’ve just had three years off from worrying about you and now you’ve turned up on their doorstep again! You will be just as annoying as them and while you feel smothered, they will feel like you have a bad attitude and are taking advantage of their home by using it like a hotel. Make sure to spend time with them, be polite and offer to do jobs like the ironing etc. All this will sweeten them up and will get them off your back in the long run, plus you really owe it to them when they are cleaning up after you, providing you with home-cooked meals etc. They will soon get used to you being an adult in their house and the will start to respect your boundaries. It will take time for all of you to find your groove, but after a while you will start to become like house mates rather than parents and children. My family and I now have a great balance but it sure was hard at first to lose all my freedom.
This will be a great opportunity for those who haven’t secured a job to take advantage of internships and work experience that you wouldn’t have been able to afford to do if living out and supporting yourself in your own home. You could apply for extra training, for example, I started studying for my journalism diploma before I started full time work. You could even get involved in some volunteering, which looks great on your CV and gives great experience that will be recognised by future employers. Lay the seeds, get involved in companies you would like to work for. Even if they have no vacancies, make contact, put the time in and ask them for work experience and advice. By doing this you could end up as a first choice if they suddenly need extra workers or to replace someone who leaves abruptly. If you really can’t find work and it seems hopeless, try starting a new project such as a blog or website that you can build into something bigger, or get involved with one that is already established by offering your services for free. Follow your hobby, I followed mine and ended up the editor of a festival review site (I now get my pick of the festival tickets!).
It will be hard for a while, but moving back home can give you a great opportunity to brace yourself for the real world and to let you live somewhere in the limbo between being a teenager and an adult, none of the responsibility but a little more of the freedom. Don’t mope about and feel sorry for yourself, use the situation to your advantage and do what you need to do to save money, get that dream job and move on to a place of your own.