Living at Home in College? How to Thrive.
Many students, often those attending community or local colleges and looking to save money, are living at home in college. This living situation can be cheap, convenient and comforting, but it also presents a unique set of challenges. Even though you didn’t move out, your relationship with your parents is bound to change.
How do you grow as an independent college student while living with your parents? If you plan on living at home in college, here are some tips to help you balance home and school.
Stay in Dialogue with Your Parents
Like a living situation with roommates, living at home in college involves openness and compromise. Your restrictions may not involve rules and curfews, but simply respect for a shared living space with people whose lifestyles and habits differ from yours.
For instance, it’s respectful to let your parents know if you plan to be out later than usual or have friends over. Together, you can negotiate plans that give you more freedom while being mindful of your parents’ needs.
Think of Ways to Take Responsibility
Pick up the tab for your own groceries, do the cooking once in a while, make a little extra effort to keep the house clean. This will show your parents that you’re ready to adjust to new responsibilities as well as new privileges, and will help them view you as an adult.
Participate in College Activities
Taking advantage of the extracurricular options offered at your college will help you get to know your classmates, just as it did in high school. But now it can help you establish an identity and develop into a well-rounded, independent student. As you find yourself exploring new interests and possibly taking on leadership roles, your college years will start to mean more to you.
Even if you’re living at home in college, you can still immerse yourself in the college experience. Take initiative and spend as much time on campus as you can. The library and the student union are good places to start.
Consider a Part-Time Job
Classes come first, and one benefit to living at home in college is that you don’t need to budget money for housing. But if you have the time and energy, a job can be a great complement to your studies. See if you qualify for work-study jobs on campus.
A part-time job is another way to demonstrate to your parents, and to yourself, that even though you’re living at home, you’re still transitioning into adulthood.
Create a Long-Term Plan
Do you plan to live at home as long as you’re in college, or are you setting up a timeline to move out? Without the pressure of paying for room and board, living at home in college gives you more flexibility to change courses, change majors and change your mind. Don’t get tricked into thinking you have all the time in the world, though. As early as you can, make a plan and stick to it.
College isn’t just about courses and grades (although those are important, too!), but also personal growth. Living at home in college can be a smart decision, and it can give you plenty of opportunities to mature and make your university experience the best it can be.
What do you think? Have you considered living at home with your parents in college?