I had just officially finished college and was about to begin the 18-hour drive from school to home. Or, more symbolically, I was getting ready to drive into a new and exciting chapter of my young adult life.
All of my finals were completed.
Every paper had been turned in.
My room was disassembled and dispersed into boxes.
The car was gassed and ready to go.
This should have been a great moment for me right? I was graduating a semester early, with two majors and more memories and emotions than I could have ever asked for. I was a college graduate about to embark on the next phase of my life. And yes, overall this was a fabulous, dramatic-movie-scene worthy moment where I blasted Taylor Swift and left all the stress of college in my rear-view window— but something kept nagging at me.
Between the “I’m sure you’ll figure out your plan soon enough” comments and the sideways look of pity I kept getting, I could tell that most people viewed my moving home after graduation as a failure. My peers thought I was moving home because I didn’t have any other options. People thought I was moving home because my plans A, B, and C had fallen through or not panned out. But what people never seemed to consider was the fact that my plan A was, and had always been, to move home after graduation. For some reason, everyone discredited the fact that moving home after graduation is a desirable, practical, and resourceful option for many people.
I moved home after graduation for a lot of reasons, but here are the highlights:
1. It made sense for my future career
Going away for school was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. As a self-proclaimed homebody, leaving my comfort zone was exactly what I needed to do for a few years to really grow and learn about myself. But after four years away, I was more than ready to come back to my favorite city and all of the places and people that mean the most to me. Conveniently for me, my hometown and the surrounding area is also the epicenter of the industry that I want to get into— so moving home was not only desirable, but it was also incredibly practical. Being from a big city I knew that I would have just as many (if not more) opportunities in moving home as I would starting over in a new location.
2. It’s cost effective
The thought of moving to a new apartment in a new city is seductive and exciting—for about ten seconds until you remember how expensive it will be. When I factored in the cost of a new apartment (deposits, fees, etc) and the cost of furnishing said new apartment, it felt like I would be flushing money down the toilet. Your post-grad years are when you are most likely to change jobs, apartments, and your general location. For my frugal post grad mindset, spending a lot of the little money I had on making a new home when I already had a clean, cozy, furnished one to go back to seemed unnecessary.
3. It allowed me to me picky
Knowing that I had a place to live and that my safety and well being didn’t depend on my ability to nail down a job allowed me the freedom to wait for the job that was right for me. While I had a general idea of what type of first “real” job I was looking for, the financial security afforded to me by living at home allowed me to be more selective when it came to deciphering between my options. For many of my classmates and peers embarking on their post-grad lives their job hunt is based on finances and finding a job that will pay their bills—which is fine and understandable. But isn’t your first job supposed to be about learning and positioning yourself properly for your future career? Living at home allowed me the option of taking an internship or position that did not pay as well (or at all), but that would be most beneficial down the road.
When it comes to navigating post-grad paths, there are a million ways to go. For some people, that path will lead to new cities and new people. For some, it will lead them back to their hometowns. For others, it may keep them right in their college towns. Wherever yours leads, walk it proudly and without giving any care to critics you may encounter along the way. For me, my path led me back home… and I couldn’t be happier.
Image via The Sill