mailboxThe last two years of my college life I have spent living at home with my parents and three younger siblings. I moved home after I spent some time—and most of my money—on a study abroad in the British Isles. The thought of moving back home after being on my own was frustrating, but the last two years have been much different than I expected. Here are four things I learned about what college kids and their families can do to make living together a good experience.

  1. Space is blessed. I am gone at school and work nearly all day, and when I am home, I’m usually doing homework. I need a sanctuary where I know I can take time for myself to get things done or just veg out. Families, remember that your stay-at-home college students are still adults with their own busy schedules. Help them by giving them physical and mental space to breathe.
  2. Family is an investment. Speaking of a busy schedule, there just never seems to be enough time for everything! However, even though I have my own agenda, I have found it’s important to make time for the people who not only house and feed me, but the people who also love me. I’ve grown closer to my parents and siblings in ways that I never could have had if I didn’t live at home. If you give them time, they will give you time. It’s a win-win.
  3. Save that dough! If you’re like me, chances are your family isn’t making you pay for everything—utilities, garbage, insurance, mortgage, etc. And with all that extra money, it’s way easier to feel like I have more to spend. But don’t get caught in a trap. Some months I have actually saved less money living at home than I did living on my own. I’ve found that maintaining some form of responsible adult spending habits (like keeping a budget and pitching in on groceries or rent) keeps me from overspending.
  4. Remember to stay socially healthy. Between school and work, I don’t always have the energy (or the desire) to go out at the end of the day. But even though spending time with family is important, participating in activities with my friends and peers is also important. It actually gives me more energy, reinforces my networking, and helps me find new cultural experiences.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Managing Editor, Stance