Having just graduated from college, I am fulfilling the nightmare of most college students by returning home despite my oh-so-special college degree. I, like many other college students, fell for the deception that having a college degree would have a real-world impact, like an increased likelihood for a job.
Unfortunately, the joke is on us, College Grads. A degree seems merely a fancy gold-lettered return-ticket back home to the unwelcome arms of parents who thought that they had already gotten rid of you. Before you hang yourself with your graduation tassel, refer to the following survival tips to get your through this summer, or the next three years.
1. Avoid Degenerating To Ten-Year-Old You
Like Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” except your family. Living under the same roof again with those who saw you through jelly sandals and braces can be a self-esteem challenge. It may be tempting to cope with old defense mechanisms like cuddling with old stuffed friends (long time no see, Curly Jr. Jr. Jr.), or slamming bedroom doors (“Leave me alone!”).
Whatever you do, don’t do this. Reacting like ten-year-old you is a downward spiral that will end in self-loathing and, possibly, a demotion to the basement. Spiders!
2. Hold Onto Your Friends
While it may be tempting to mute your cell phone, this is a time where the moral support of your friends is more necessary than a bottle of Jose Cuervo. Resist alcohol and afternoon naps. Accept invitations to parties. Dial up fellow home-sufferers or, better yet, friends who have made it on the other side of living with their parents. Holy autonomy! Commiserate with those in your situation, and be inspired by those who aren’t.
If finances are holding you back from your own apartment, refer to the Craigslist job section before Netflix. Resist the urge to waste time because the more time you waste, the longer you live at the mercy of your family. Not that you don’t love waking up to “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” or having your days narrated by your mother.
4. Appreciate Your Family
Fighting over the toaster is better than fighting for sleeping space on a park bench. Face it: there are worse scenarios. This is not the end, so put away the butter knives. Be grateful that you have a family to annoy the heck out of you, and try to enjoy them. Read some poetry together. Play Go Fish. Listen to old family histories. It’s not exactly tequila shots at Blue Grass Night, but it’s not an eight AM’er either.
5. Consider Your Accomplishments
While mourning for the great person you thought you would be by now (like someone with a job and an apartment), try to consider the okay-ish person you are now. You got through a lot of classes (roughly 124 credits). That’s not nothing. Consider life beyond the threshold of this familial black hole. After all, you do have a degree. There must be something you can do with it.