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Returning Home After Uni? You're Not Alone


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So you’re just about to graduate after finishing University, but dreading relative’s questioning about your post-uni plans accompanying their congratulations. The taken-for-granted seamless move from student to successful grad-job holder at a global business in central London two tube stops down from the dream pad has been replaced with lie ins so late they make you feel guilty, and bi-daily swabbles with your parents over the television remote.

If so, you’re not alone. New research has found that in today’s competitive graduate job market and difficult housing climate, over a quarter of students are returning home after finishing Uni.

According to marketing research company Mintel, 27% of students are flying back to the nest, and over 3 million adults are now living back with their parents. Of these, 41% say they do so to save money, over a third (34%) because they are without a job, three in ten (31%) return because they can’t afford housing, and 23% go back home because of a relationship break-up.

However, for some, the move is not just circumstantial with as many as 13% moving back because of the lure of home comforts and 9% because ‘it’s nicer than living in rented accommodation’.

Being back at home can see students devoting 9-5 hours in the job hunt, taking a MA, collecting work experience or internships, or returning to previous part-time employment.

I returned home myself at the start of this academic year after three years of living away from home and deciding to start a Masters in the hope of making myself more employable (NB: it hasn’t worked so far…) Balancing life with living with the parents and teenage sister was stressful, and there were times where you feel you’ve regressed slightly when you realise you’ve spend an half an hour arguing over what’s in the fridge (there were seven types of cheese but no flora?!?!) and scheduling in when you can watch something on the box (the answer, never – you have to iplayer it); but there are some good things about being at home too.

Obviously there are the stereotypical lines about being able to have your washing and cooking done for you. While this isn’t always the case (you’re never in for dinner and you don’t actually put your washing out), the option’s there. Furthermore, regardless of what meals or washing you miss, you don’t have to buy the food or pay the water bill.

There’s also that thing that made you cringe when you were 15 but secretly enjoy now if you let yourself – quality family time. When you’ve been away for three years, it’s almost comforting to hear your Dad’s very long and extremely detailed explanations of his views of the impact of Ed Milliband stitching up his brother on the future of the Labour party. Almost.

On top of this – now I’m going to sound incredibly corny here – moving back home gives you the opportunity to get to know any brothers or sisters better. While you were away at Uni for three years, your younger sister grew up and discovered alcohol and boys, and while the prospect may send fear to into the core of your protective-older-sibling heart it also gives you the opportunity for great gossip and conversation you might not have been able to share when she was 12.

Other benefits of being at home include being able to catch-up with friends from home; being slipped a cheeky tenner by the parents occasionally; living in a house with a working shower without mould; not having to do as much cleaning; re-discovering the twee-ness of a landline telephone; and living in a house that doesn’t smell of damp, weeds or vom.

So as long as your parents can see that you’re working hard to find a job, picking up whatever hours you can at the local pub, or booking up work experience for the future, then there should be no worries. Sure, heavy debates with your mum over where the rouge sock disappeared in the washing is not quite living the dream, but keep at it, that will all come soon enough.

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