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Graduated and living at home? Join the club

Keeping positive now that you're living back home

Written by James Mulhall | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

"I am confident that one day my big break will come. And yours will too."

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I am a recent college graduate. After five years of excessive food and alcohol intake, ridiculous sleeping patterns and avoiding home like the plague, I have returned home. At times when I was in college, coming home conjured up images of comfort, clean clothes, beautiful meals on the table every evening and so on. I am comfortable. My clothes are clean. I have a delicious dinner every evening. I should be happy but I am not!

This is not just about the difficulties of moving back in with your parents and siblings (though this is a pain at times, I will admit). It is about leaving college and having no prospects. I have a degree and masters but now I am stuck in a job, which is meaningless to me.

I am luckier than others. I’ve had my summer job for the last five years and it is reliable and well paid. I have paid most of my way through college with this job and I am very grateful to my employers for it. As grateful as I am though, I want out. I am a qualified journalist now and I want to be working in that industry.

This is, to me, the most difficult thing about being at home again. In other years, I have complained and dragged my feet all summer, wishing the days to go by faster so that I would be moving away to college again, back to the ridiculous student lifestyle. This time, I do not have that to look forward to. I have uncertainty, no security and worst of all “The Fear”.

It is early days for me and even as I write this I am gripped with The Fear, which is undoubtedly pushing me through this article, but here are some tips for helping you through this time:

  • Work for free: in every industry, experience is vitally important. I have never been a paid journalist but I have been working as one since 2008. You need to keep doing what you want to do, whenever you get the chance, to be employable when that dream job comes around.
  • Be patient: it would be great if things worked out straightaway but this is unlikely. I am finished my master’s degree a week and have received no less than five job rejections. It stings but you need to get on with it!
  • Earn money: easier said than done but try your best. I am approaching my mid-20s and do not want to rely on my parents’ purses anymore. I have a job so I am lucky but keep trying for ANY form of financial gain, for your parents’ sake as well as your own!
  • Take up a hobby: get yourself out of the house as often as you can. You may be living at home but you’re not a child anymore. Being back at home can be demoralising, don’t let it take over your life.
  • Be angry: it doesn’t matter where or how you are angry (within reason) but you need to vent. If you keep everything bottled up it’s detrimental to your mental health. I have taken it out on my family in the short few days I am home so I decided to take it out on SpunOut instead.

Above all, never give up hope. Something will work out eventually. So far, nothing has worked out for me and I have epic Fear but I am applying for about five jobs per day now and I am confident that one day my big break will come. And yours will too.

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Published June 4th, 2013
Last updated February 22nd, 2018
Tags recession unemployment
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