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Every night since May 19th, the day I graduated from my college, I’ve found myself staring at my bedroom wall at the big spotlight that shines on my college diploma written entirely in Latin.
Do I understand any of it? Absolutely not. Do I have to? Nope. What I do know is that this piece of paper states that my college chapter is finally over and that I’m an adult. Well, almost. When I say I’m staring at my bedroom wall, I mean the wall of my childhood bedroom in my parent’s apartment. I have my reasons.
Let me take a step back.
During my final high school years I remember being obsessed with going to college somewhere outside of New York City, where I grew up. I guess I was really excited to live on my own. I applied to 22 schools to make that happen (thanks, Dad).
I got into schools that were in Connecticut, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, all over the country. Once I put a deposit down for Union College in Upstate New York (for $500 mind you), something in my gut told me I shouldn’t go. I started to feel upset about leaving my parents and my childhood friends for four years. Why would I want to be away from the people I love for that long?
I ended up losing my $500 deposit and had to pay another $500 for Fordham, just a 45 minute train ride from home.
That’s when the various costs associated with college started to fully set in. Do you know how much housing costs at Fordham? For a double room in one building it is $19,105 (that includes a meal plan). A single in a different building is $19,320. Why would I move out of my comfortable, cute room to live in a four-by-six box with another person?
So, I picked my parents as my roommates, it seemed like the financially responsible decision.
Now, I’m a college graduate. No more staying up till 3 a.m. to write a 3,000-word essay on artificial intelligence (which I got an A on so who’s complaining?) Now, I find myself applying to 4,000 jobs to see where I could fit.
Meanwhile, the costs associated with college have been replaced with the costs of adulting. Between food, insurance, and all my other bills, my hair is probably going to start falling out piece by piece. Factor in rent, and it’s impossible to make my monthly budget work. Just Googling “How much does it cost to live in New York” and I found that $1,500 a month is about as low as it goes. I don’t know what I would do with myself, I would be so stressed trying to pay that.
It took me some time, but I came to realize I have plenty of time to be independent. Trust me, having your parents as your roommates isn’t that bad.
But don’t your parents still call you at 9 p.m. to ask when you’re coming home, you are probably wondering?
So what if they nag me from time to time. I’m enjoying the last little bits of being a child at heart before having to start hustling from nine to six daily.
I know it will take time to get a full-time job, but I am okay with that because I have a roof over my head courtesy of my parents. Because of them, I can make a plan for myself in the midst of my own bedroom and when it’s time, spread my wings into the real world.
Even though it would be great to live my own life, in my own apartment, with my cute little corgi, I’m giving myself permission to pace myself.
Here are a few of the tips I have learned from living at home:
- Get a part-time job. It might not be a perfect job, but any experience helps. Some of you may think internships (paid or not) are not helpful. Trust me when I say they help a lot.
- Get away from living paycheck to paycheck while you have a roof over your head. If you are living at home it’s important to save.
- Stop eating out every day! Trust me, I understand the pain of seeing the same thing in the fridge over and over again (my mom only eats fish and vegetables). But, eating out every day can ruin the chances of saving even $10.
- Don’t go prematurely grey with stress. A job will happen. Money will happen. We all thought and assumed we would have a job right after college. But things don’t happen overnight. It’s OK. Live your life.
- Your parents are your biggest fans. They will always help you and motivate you. Don’t take that for granted.
Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual
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