Students debate moving home after school

Margaret Wilbourne

For many, college represents not just the struggle to manage extracurricular commitments and academics or to decide a major and minor, but also the transition to complete independence. Competition with an ever-increasing global economy and a booming technological age is creating something of a black hole for graduates striving for self-sufficiency.

Because of these new struggles in the job market, 24 percent of currently unemployed or underemployed graduates between ages 18-34 have moved in with their parents, according to the Pew Research Center.

Traditionally, being a “boomerang child” has held a negative connotation, said Hunter Stewart, a freshman majoring in civil engineering.

“Personally, yes, I see it as something negative,” he said. “If I can’t support myself on my own, I’d feel extremely judged and like people would think I can’t handle the real world.”

An analysis of the 2011 Current Population Survey reveals 53 percent of graduates with bachelor degrees under the age of 25 were unemployed. About 26 percent of graduates were overqualified for the median jobs they held, such as waitressing. For some, however, the classic stigma attached to moving back with Mom and Dad has begun to lessen, and the meaning of “supporting” oneself has evolved.

“I feel like moving back home after graduation is a good thing, because it allows people to save up money and get their bearings while working,” Cameron Harvey, a freshman majoring in marketing and management, said. For Harvey, heading home after graduation doesn’t seem so bad.

“Moving back is definitely an option, especially if I got a well-paying job in Atlanta,” Harvey said. Despite the convenience and chance to get one’s feet on the ground living with one’s parents offers, some still cannot justify the move.

“Moving back isn’t an option for me – I’m very independent,” Emelie Sara Tonitis, a senior majoring in secondary education and language arts, said. To avoid circumstances that might force her to move home, Tonitis made sure to plan ahead.

“If I had chosen an English major, then I probably would have had to move back with my dad,” she said. “But I chose a major that would help me get a job after I graduated.”

While she is determined to avoid adopting her old address, Tonitis does see returning home as an option for others.

“If you have a job and are doing something, I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” she said.