After reaching major life milestones like graduating high school and turning 18, there is a societal pressure to immediately start an adult life and quickly transition out of childhood. For a lot of us, that means gaining independence from our parents by moving out of the family home. At 22, I am still living there. Even though living at home makes me feel inadequate, embarrassed and ashamed at times because I am comparing myself to what I think is normal, there are many reasons why I think people shouldn’t be ashamed of living with their parents while attending college.
When I went away to college in Los Angeles, I cried when my dad dropped me off at my dorm. I was able to adjust to my new life after some time, but when my family dropped me off at my new apartment the following year, it wasn’t as easy. Disrupting the schedule and routine I had become accustomed to over the summer rattled me. I even stopped taking my medications for my Generalized Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder. I quickly spiraled out of control. I had no social life, and I never left my apartment. I cried all day and hardly left my bed. I even tried to kill myself because I felt so alone, lost and isolated. A combination of those things caused my studies to take a major hit. I felt so stupid because I wasn’t able to concentrate or process anything because I had no energy to focus on anything other than my disastrous home life.
I think I would have had a much better chance of being successful in going away to school if there had been some sort of transition period. I went from living with my parents for 18 years to living on my own in one of the biggest cities in the world. I wasn’t close to my family, but I relied on them when I faced a problem. Some people are self-reliant and others are dependent and need to be comforted by others. There is no shame in being the latter. Saying goodbye so suddenly after 18 years can be hard, and if you need more time, take it.
Living in California is expensive, and I doubt any college student is making much more than minimum wage. Obviously, there are students who work and attend school full-time, but I like to sleep nine hours every night. Sure it’s possible, but making enough money to be financially independent while attending school is outside the realm of possibility and too stressful for most. If you feel the need to contribute to your household because you feel like a free-loader, pay rent and do chores. Or be like me and don’t do either. Ride the wave or train as long as you can. College is a time to focus on school to make sure you’re as equipped as possible for the workforce, and you shouldn’t be ashamed or feel pressured to undertake a life-altering commitment just because you think you have to.
I know that in the eyes of society and the law, I’m an adult. It’s too bad I don’t feel or act like one. I still feel like a kid and I still feel like I need to use my family as a crutch. I don’t know how to handle my money, cook, clean or do anything else that comes with being a self-sufficient adult. I’m choosing to use this time as a transition to mature into adulthood without being thrown into it. I’ve had to accept the fact that I’m a little immature and a bit of a baby. I know that if it weren’t for the generosity of my parents, I probably would have killed myself because I’m just not capable of completely taking care of myself at this point in my life.
Live on your own when you are mentally and financially capable able of doing so. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on where you are now and how you can use it to your advantage to get you where you’d like to be.