What exactly is the ‘Boomerang Generation’ ?
The Boomerang Generation is a term closely associated with millennial life. It describes those who have experienced independence for a period of time, but have now, for one reason or another, found themselves flying back to the family nest. Returning home after university has become an increasingly common feature of graduate life. For many, it can be a difficult time, leaving one feeling as though they have reverted back to their former 18 year old existence.
In most instances, you will have been away from home for the last three years. Perhaps only occasionally returning for a luxury weekend of clean kitchens, fresh bed sheets, and food that isn’t pesto pasta. You might have been back for your Christmas and Easter breaks. But inevitably you were consumed with revising for exams, or, on the rare occasion of a free day, spending quality time with friends and family. Feeling rejuvenated and well fed, you happily return back to university, more than ready to resume your life of blissful independence.
University is over, what now?
But what if you aren’t going back to university? What if your family home is now your permanent address for the foreseeable months? This is the case for many graduates who find themselves returning home after university. Maybe you haven’t been able to secure a job yet, or you simply cannot afford the astronomical rent costs that have become a defining feature of 21st-century life.
Why can returning home be difficult?
Whatever the reason is, this period of time can undoubtedly be a challenging one. Whilst at university you were the master of your own existence. You were able to arrive home at whatever time you pleased, you could wake up at whatever inhumane time of the day seemed fitting, and you could invite whoever you wanted to your house.
No matter the relationship you have with your parents and other family members, home can feel like a remarkably freedom-less and claustrophobic environment in comparison to that of university. All too often, parents might return to old patterns of behaviour, treating you as your former younger self. You also might return to old habits. Neglecting to wash those clothes and dishes that you might once have took responsibility for when living alone. With this in mind, returning home can be a breeding ground for the resurfacing of bad habits. In turn, this can lead to increased tensions. With this in mind, here are some top tips to ensure that the transition from university life to a home one, is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
How to manage being back at home…
Communication is key
Before embarking on family life once again, it is a good idea to sit down as a family and talk through your expectations of one another. For graduates, this might be something as simple as requesting that your family respect your privacy and acknowledge your adult self. Your parents too, might expect that you contribute something towards living costs if you are in a position to do so. Make sure you communicate clearly about these sorts of things, so that no one is left in the uncomfortable position of having to hassle someone down for money.
Set yourself goals
Now this one is particularly important for you personally. It can be incredibly overwhelming to think of endless months at home stretched out before you. Indeed, it can be easy to get into the mindset that you will be staying at home forever. Try and avoid these thoughts and instead turn your attention towards setting yourself goals. For example, it may be helpful to write down a date that you would like to have moved out by. In turn, this will also make it easier to compile any weekly ‘mini’ goals and to-do-lists. Lists such as these can be especially important if you are unemployed and job seeking, as it provides structure to your daily life, in turn making you feel more focused, and less demotivated.
See this as you time
One benefit of living back at home is that you will most likely have fewer outgoings. Make the most of this situation! If you are in a job, then see it as an opportunity to save your money so that it can be used at a later date if you are to move out into your own accommodation. With that said, if you have some money put by and have a weekend free, then why not put it towards a long weekend away, either alone or with some friends. Not only will this provide you with a refreshing change of scenery, but it will also increase your own sense of independence.
Most importantly, try not to view returning home as something negative. As well as the many financial benefits of living at home, it is also the perfect chance to spend some quality time with your family. For many people, this could be the last time you live at home for an extended period, so make the most of it! Not rushing straight into an expensive living situation can be considered by many as an incredibly sensible idea. In fact, it is no surprise that instances of debt and financial struggles can have a negative effect on your mental health. As much as living back at home might bring its challenges, try and view this period of time as one in which you can slow down, ground yourself within a stable environment, and focus on what you would like your next steps to be.