Graduating from uni can be a difficult time. The job hunt begins as you find yourself back in your hometown and in your childhood bedroom.
After three years of living independently you’re now back at home with your parents and you’ve lost many of your freedoms, such as having people over at 2am if you want to. Maybe you had to put up with the annoying habits of your housemates at uni, but the very particular idiosyncrasies of your parents, and the rules that they set, may be even more irritating. No one wants to be stuck in that kind of dynamic and still feel like a teenager.
Going from independence to dependence can feel demoralising and infantilising. But there’s certainly no reason to feel ashamed about the situation.
The graduate jobs market is competitive
One disappointment that many graduates face is not being able to find a job with their degree as easily as they imagined. Your degree will open up many jobs for you, but the graduate jobs market is highly competitive, so it may take some time before you land that ideal job.
Often graduates will do internships (sometimes unpaid, despite the fact that this is illegal) in order to increase their chances of standing out. But, of course, it’s difficult to move out when doing an internship (even if it pays the London ‘living wage’, it’s going to be a real struggle to live in the capital on that wage).
If you’re feeling ashamed about being unemployed after uni, don’t be. You can look for jobs 9-5 and do everything you can to increase your chances, but it can still be a struggle. Fierce job competition isn’t your fault. So be patient and use the time being unemployed to work on your skills and hobbies.
It’s common for millennials to live with their parents
As a 20-something, you will know people who live on their own, with a partner, friends, flatmates, or with their parents. You may feel jealous of those who live independently and bitter about the fact that you don’t. When talking to a friend about how they’re moving out, this may make you feel embarrassed about the fact that you’re still stuck at home.
On the other hand, you may take stock of all the friends and people you know who still live with their parents, and feel that you’re not such a failure after all, since so many other people are in the same situation as you.
After all, it’s a pretty normal situation. Findings published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 1 in 4 young adults (those aged 20-34) are still living with their parents. Because the cost of renting and home ownership is so high in the UK, those in their 20s and 30s have to make the practical choice of living at home.
While some commentators enjoy using these statistics to portray millennials as adult children milking the comforts of home for as long as possible, there are real barriers in the UK that often make living independently too much struggle for what it’s worth. It’s not babyish to save money while living at home with your parents until you get a job that pays a real living wage. It’s a decision based on a rational weighing up of benefits and costs, and it doesn’t preclude being decent, hardworking and responsible.
Unfortunately, we live in a society in which so much of our self-valuation depends on whether we’ve reached certain milestones: graduating, having an ‘impressive’ job, having your own place, getting married, having kids, etc. This doesn’t mean that these milestones aren’t rewarding and fulfilling.
However, placing so much serious emphasis on reaching them at a certain age - and comparing yourself with others in order to gauge whether you’re a success or a failure - can leave you with a sense of self-worth that’s unstable. Have confidence in your talents and passions. You can get to where you want to be.
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