One of the toughest decisions a prospective college student has to make is whether they’re going away to school or not. Even if you choose to go to school close to home, you still have to decide whether or not to live on campus. For many, the financial savings that can be found living at home are difficult to resist. In 2015, 48% of college students chose to live at home.
While living at home during your college or university years is generally a good financial choice, it can lead to many other problems. Depending on how well your parents do with the transition of thinking of you as a child to thinking of you as an adult, you may experience some growing pains with your living situation.
Even if you’re not a big partier or into the campus social scene, you most likely aren’t going to want to deal with curfews or people asking where you’re going or when you’ll be home. Not to mention that living with your parents can often cause real problems with your love life when you want to bring someone home.
Another problem area often involves money. Will they expect you to pay rent? To contribute to groceries? These can become serious areas of friction. And we haven’t even talked about what household chores and duties you’ll be expected to do. It’s a lot to think about.
So how do you survive living at home during your college years?
1 – Have a heart-to-heart with your parents before you start school
Make a list of the possible problem areas between you and your parents, including everything from late-night returns from study sessions or parties, and (of course) any possible hookups. It can be best to get everyone’s expectations out in the open. Will they expect you home at a certain time? If so, can you cope with that? Are they open to negotiating exceptions? How do they feel about you having overnight guests or staying somewhere else overnight?
These can be difficult conversations to have with your parents, but this is one of those times when honesty is absolutely the best policy and by talking things through before the situations actually arrive you can keep more heated emotions out of the conversation.
2 – Consider drawing up a rental/housing contract
This applies more to chores and monetary expectations. It might sound like a strange concept to have a contract to live where you’ve always lived, but things change a lot when you’re an adult, and signing a contract can help remind everyone involved just how much things are changing. And if you negotiate terms like rent, or what household chores you’re expected to do, everything is down in black-and-white so you won’t need to argue later.
3 – Communicate
Misunderstandings can simmer when there is a lack of communication. Maybe after a concert you’re not going to make it home until two in the morning when your parents have asked you to be in no later than one. Don’t just break curfew and hope you get away with it. It’s time to do the grown-up thing and let them know you’re going to be late. Open and early communication is key to avoiding big arguments.