Once the excitement of being back home wears off, it's quite common to feel a bit blue after coming back from studying abroad. You might also be facing student loans on top of the challenges of finding a job, and moving out could be an unattainable goal for the moment. What can returning students do to cope with this new reality?
In the last 20 years, the number of young adults living with their parents in the UK has risen 46%.1 Rising rents, housing prices and student loan debt have all contributed to a "boomerang generation" of graduates moving back home after university. It's a good thing there's less stigma now around this: when asked, more than half of the Millennials in the US said they planned to do just this after college, and 82% of parents said they'd be happy to welcome them back.2
If this is you, you were probably a teenager the last time you lived at home. You might have been gone for 4 years (or more) for school and are now coming back as a full-fledged adult. But while you've been out living your life and finding your identity, your parents might not have been completely privy to this process. They may expect you to still follow their rules while you live under their roof, while you'd like for them to respect your space.
Don't let conflict overshadow your return home; instead, talk about the situation and set some boundaries and expectations. Show your parents the life skills you've learnt. They'll be more inclined to treat you like an adult if you can cook and clean up after yourself.
Keep in touch with your university friends
In a recent study, almost all of those polled who studied abroad said it was a positive and life-changing experience. If you've moved back home, you're probably missing your friends from school. Stay in touch with them with regular video calls and emails - technology truly does make the world that much smaller these days. Maintaining connections can help you readjust to life at home and remind you that you're not alone, especially if you're experiencing reverse culture shock (or "re-entry shock").
Start a new network
Even as you put effort into staying in touch with your university friends, why not start a new network? There are many ways to meet new people. If you know of any alumni networks or local chapters of any student organisations you were part of, pay them a visit. Get involved in your community through volunteer work. You'll meet people while getting settled in again and before you know it, home will start feeling like, well, home again.
Explore the place you call home again
You've spent years living abroad. Chances are things have changed during that time, so make an effort to rediscover your home and all it has to offer, once again. Walk around town and check out the new bars and restaurants that cropped up in your absence. You might even be surprised to see that the skyline of your city has changed while you were away. Join a Meetup group or create your own, and connect with like-minded people who share your interests.
Establish a routine
Just like when you moved away from home, keeping busy will take your mind off the post-study blues. Reconnect with friends and family, update your CV and establish a new routine. If you had a set routine at school, create a new one now and it will give you a sense of purpose while you try to readjust.
Remind yourself to enjoy this time
You'll be out on your own soon enough, paying rent and all the bills that come with independence (trust us - you've got the rest of your life to do this). Enjoy this time living at home and save some money while you're at it. Remember, your parents can be your best financial support when you're just starting out. They can also be your best advisers in terms of helping you prepare for independence.
Address your financial situation
You don't need to know exactly what you're going to do for the rest of your life, but having a plan will help you get your thoughts in order. This includes a financial plan for saving and paying back any debt you might have incurred while studying abroad. If you're an HSBC Jade client or Premier customer, you can book an appointment with your relationship manager to discuss how best to manage your money now that you're no longer a student.
Seek help and be kind to yourself
Certain life events can cause stress, some more than others. A few of these top stressors include moving, financial troubles and starting a new job. Think about it - you may be experiencing these all at once! Moving back home after graduating is a major life transition, so be kind to yourself and give yourself time to get used to your new normal.
As for what your graduating classmates are doing? It doesn't matter. Your experience will be different, so it doesn't help to compare. Pick up inspiring books instead, like Congratulations, By the Way, by George Saunders or The Defining Decade, by Meg Jay.
Are you still in university and planning life after school? Here are 9 things every college student should do before graduating to help make your transition back home easier.
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