As I sit at home relaxing, I feel a sense of déjà vu. It feels as if I am living the same day over and over or reliving a day from my past. My days tend to be repetitive and I feel like I am not truly living. I wake up, eat breakfast, apply to full-time jobs, have lunch, go for a walk, do some part-time work from home, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep; hanging out with friends only once or twice a week.
At 21, I am back at home, living with my parents
At 21, I am sleeping in my childhood bedroom, decorated with paintings I made at age ten or with posters of things I was once interested in. It’s not terrible and I am so grateful to have parents who are allowing me to live with them.
But it is not exactly what I had hoped for during my early twenties. The movies and social media tend to glamorize being in your twenties and having your own apartment and living in a big city with a high-paying job, but in reality, that is not the case for many recent graduates. I had a picture of what I wanted my life to look like after graduating and moving in with my parents was not a part of the plan.
Sometimes it’s okay if things don’t go as planned
But, sometimes it is okay for plans to change and for things to not go as expected. I have noticed that many of my high school friends who also graduated this year also moved back in with their parents and it is almost like a little high school reunion four years later.
Overall, living at home with my parents is so different from college. My parents do give me lots of freedom, but it just seems odd to go from living on your own to having to tell people whenever you leave the house and say where you’re going and what time you will be back at. But again, I am so thankful to have a roof over my head and food to eat.
If you are a recent college graduate searching for a job and living with your parents, you are not alone. So many other college graduates are going through this, even graduates who are a year or two older than you.
It is hard having people constantly ask you where you’re working or what your plans are now that you have graduated. Keep in mind that this situation is not permanent and before you know it, you will be living on your own and making excellent money at a job you love.
And trust me, I know how applying to jobs can seem endless and how it feels like you may never find one. It can be difficult finding a job that pertains to your degree, and with the pandemic, you are also competing with 2020 graduates. Don’t beat yourself up when you get rejection emails or get ghosted by companies; unfortunately, this is normal.
Nine ways to make the most of your situation
1. Apply to at least five to ten jobs a week
It is always a good idea to set goals for yourself and meet these goals. This number is different for everyone depending on how long it takes you to write a cover letter and fill out applications. And make sure these are jobs you are genuinely interested in! Don’t just apply to random companies because you need a job; only apply to jobs you would actually take.
2. Make sure you get outside and exercise every day
It can be easy to get lost in job applications and feel like it is a hopeless and endless process. Applying to jobs can be very draining because you are doing the same thing over and over, filling out the past places you have worked, your skillset, etc. Take time for yourself to get outside and get some sunlight this summer. Going for walks or hikes helps me to clear my head and feel refreshed afterward.
3. Take a day or two off from the job search on the weekend
Unplug on at least one weekend day, or both. Go on a day trip and enjoy something in your area-a beach, a park, a cool hiking trail, or a new exhibit at a museum. This will help you recharge and clear your mind.
4. Spend time with your family
This is probably the first time in a while you have lived with your family other than for summers or short breaks throughout college. Use this time to do movie nights, hikes, and going out to eat with your family! You can also cook together and try out new recipes, which is perfect to figure out things you like cooking for when you move out on your own again, so you don’t have to eat out all the time like in college.
5. Reconnect with old friends in your hometown
Since you may be at home for a few months or even a couple of years, you can reconnect with your friends who have also moved back from college and are living in your hometown again. I reached out to several of my old friends and it was so fun to hang out with them and talk about all of the fun times we had together during high school.
6. If you are working, save as much money as you can
One benefit of living at home after college is that you will be saving much more money than if you had moved straight into an apartment. Because you may have extra money since you do not have to pay for rent or food, try your best not to spend it on things you do not need. This is important so that you can afford to move out once you receive a full-time job offer.
7. Don’t compare your life to others
8. Constantly remind yourself of all of your positive traits
It’s not easy spending hours submitting applications and getting no response, and it may start to affect you emotionally. Write down a list of all of your positive characteristics and post it near your desk or computer so that you can remind yourself of all you have to offer a potential employer.
Most traits that are beneficial outside of work will benefit you on the job as well. Here are some ideas: friendly, organized, helpful, cheerful, positive, motivated, open-minded, flexible, good conversationalist, creative, enthusiastic, dependable, persistent, curious, logical, kind, hard-working.
Keep adding to your list! Recognize all of your awesomeness.
9. Don’t stress yourself out
Personally, I have tons of anxiety about finding a full-time job, even though I only graduated a month ago. It constantly occupies my mind and even when I am on vacation it is always in the back of my head that I still don’t have a full-time job. I have to remind myself that what matters is that I am working hard to get one and that eventually, I will find a job I love.
Always remember that you are not alone and that tons of college graduates are going through the exact same stressful process of finding a job while living at home with their parents. Graduating from college is already such a huge accomplishment in itself.
You have the ability to create the life you have always imagined, it just may take some time. Whether you want a job that allows you to travel most of the time, or to live in a big city while working in a large office, or living in the countryside working remotely and having a peaceful life—whatever you want for your life, your twenties will give you the foundation to achieve the life you have always wanted.
You will get there soon enough! Take this time at home to relax and focus on yourself while you plan for the future.