September of 2018, I found myself the one out of all my friends who had started college and still lived at home. I watched my peers move on with their lives while I stayed in the hometown that I'd lived in for thirteen years...and now it looked like I'll be here for at least another four. A silver lining for me in terms of the recent pandemic is that my pain of spending every single day with my parents is now shared by everyone - with the majority of North American universities holding the fall semester of 2020 online and the other portion that decided to stay open, beginning to shut down rapidly with onset of a fresh(man) wave of covid-19. Here are some of the things that I told myself to make myself feel better when I was first transitioning from high school to college – all while still having to live with the fact that I'll still be stuck at home.
You save a TON of money!
No rent, no meal plans, no tacky dorm furniture. It's a beautiful thing. Living fees at private colleges can cost over $10,000 a year, off-campus housing even more. I have friends who started working full-time on top of being enrolled as a full-time student to help their parents pay for school. For those that live at home, all that's required is that you pay tuition - at a great price for in-state students. Think of all the cool stuff you can do with your extra $$$! Start a small business, invest, travel, or just buy cool things for yourself to flex on your broke college friends.
There's always someone cooking for you.
School food is a hit or miss. It depends on the school and it depends on the meal plan. Either way, what could possibly beat good, FREE, homemade food whenever you want? This, of course, depends on how generous your parents are feeling but they wont stop you from sitting down at dinner, hopefully.
Just like food, people can be a hit or miss. The worst horror stories I've heard came in the form of roommate stories; not from obscure online articles but from the very people around me. It can happen to anyone - no one is safe from a bad roommate. Signing a new lease is like playing a game of Russian roulette - you might get a lifelong friend...or a scarring experience. It's funny because most of my friends have had one or the other with little in-betweens. But beyond that there's just the sheer freedom that privacy provides. What if you like doing naked yoga? Singing badly? You don't want to piss off someone you have to live with for a good chunk of a year, and you won't have to worry about it if you live alone!
No shared bathrooms.
I really should have included this one at the top of the list since it's clearly the most enticing part of living at home. As an only child, I've always had my own bathroom and I'm not sure I would ever be able to live with having a massive ball of hair on the side of my shower that belongs to not one or two, but possibly half a residence hall of people. Living at home means that you know that that massive clump of hair belongs to you and only you! Not to mention that a good chunk of us out there are what they call "poop shy". One of my dorm friends decided to illustrate on TikTok the struggle of being a poop shy individual, running to her "designated" poop bathroom in her residence hall to avoid the scrutiny of others. A struggle that us home dwellers will never have to face.
Less time physically spent at school means a lower chance of encountering parking enforcement. Enough said.
This one really depends on the individual but for with my short attention span, the tiniest distraction could take me off-track and I'm sure many others can relate. Living with friends is fun and all until you realize that you've forgotten to drink water for four years. When was the last time you had a nutritious meal, by the way? On top of that, living at home with the people who care (and pay) for your education means you'll always feel obligated to keep your performance up.
More time for travel
This ties in with saving money but the fact is that dorm life means a great deal of resources is spent on living fees. Once you've paid for the year, you feel obligated to make the most out of your dorm and meal plan to make the money spent worth it. Unless you're filthy rich, a benefit of living at home is that you can allocate more time and resources to things that you love to do. My friends and I have already booked a January flight to Bali, Indonesia since we've all been collecting some unemployment money and school is online for most of the year. Another pandemic silver lining!
Less chance of getting sick.
This is one that's extremely relevant this year. Shared rooms, shared bathrooms, shared dining halls, students from all around the country and the world - the university is now nothing but a big petri dish. A few weeks ago, I helped one of my close friends move into her new apartment at school. Two days ago, she told me that she had just tested positive for covid-19. She was barely at school for a week and now has to quarantine in her room for two weeks whilst living in a suite of four people. It's going to be an impractical, painful, and scary time for her and the worst part is, she won't even have her family for moral support at the risk of endangering them. Those living at home have always had a much smaller chance of catching the virus, even at its onset.
Quality time with pets.
For many of the students I've spoken to, the hardest part about leaving for school is leaving their precious, furry friends behind. Dogs, on average, only live for 10-13 years. It's a fact that I have a hard time living with even though I get to see my pup every single day. Living at home means you get way more than just a few mere summer months to spend with your animal friends. What could be better than?
Quality time with family
I feel like I had to say it. Even though I've struggled these past two years with my identity and freedom, partly as the result of still having to live with my family as an adult. I still appreciate the home-cooked meals, love and concern, and memorable moments I've shared with my parents. My aging grandparents are having health issues on the other side of the world and my mother spends her days stressing herself out because of the limited flights to Asia at the moment. I've seen families split apart by this pandemic and international students scrambling desperately to find overpriced flights home before the country goes on lockdown; it really made me realize that I'm really one of the lucky ones. One of the many benefits of living at home is that you really learn to make the most out of the time you spend with your family. Many of them, like your parents and your dog, won't be around for your entire life, so make the most of it while you can! You may be stuck inside all year but you'll be stuck with the most important people in your life.