5 Reasons Every College Grad Should Return Home Before Moving Away
For the last three years, I've done everything in my power to not come back to the small, dreaded Connecticut town in which I grew up.
I'm talking about a town where grown adults protest the appearance of downtown food trucks because it "damages the historical value of the community."
It's a place where "lax bros" probably originated, and wealth and exclusivity are often the essentials of fitting in.
With a median family income of $107,297, my hometown consisted of the kind of people I never wanted to become.
But my life post-graduation didn't exactly live up to what I expected, and I found moving back home to be quite inevitable.
I planned to move to the city, a different town or seriously anywhere but here.
However, life has a knee-slapping, hilarious way of playing out exactly the opposite of how you hoped. Demanding a career as a writer turned out to be, well, close to impossible, and landing my dream job straight out of college became less and less likely.
So, here I am again, sitting on the couch in the four-bedroom colonial home where I was raised.
But since returning, I've had some quality alone time (half because I've wanted to, and the other half because most of my high school friends have successfully cleared out).
I've found coming back has been nostalgic, comfortable and even therapeutic for the body and mind.
Here are the reasons why I believe every recent college graduate should return to his or her hometown — even if for a couple of weeks — before heading into the real world:
1. You'll buy yourself time to figure out exactly what you want.
As much as I wanted to dive into a professional career and immediately head off to a big city, I couldn't possibly imagine what I'd do if I suddenly realized it was all a mistake.
Although I still find myself changing my mind about my future every day that passes, I'm confident that since being home, I've developed a much clearer image of who and what I want to become.
Naturally, I'm the kind of person who likes change.
I get bored with the color of my room, and used to dye my hair three times a year.
Call me neurotic, but that's another story to tell.
However, coming back home has allowed for some quality "me" time, and despite my irrational tendencies, I've had the chance to screw my head on tight.
I now prioritize my goals in a specific and proactive manner.
Rushing into things is something I do extremely well, but it has absolutely never been the best solution for me.
Taking some time to lay low, think about life and figure out your next step may actually be the smartest decision you'll make post-college.
2. You'll give your body a well-deserved break.
Being back home has successfully given me the opportunity to focus on the things I never did in college.
I'm talking about exercise, healthy eating and a lot less Bud Light.
Without the option of weekly bar nights on every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, my body has had the time to recuperate.
I'm pretty sure that if it could, it'd give me a great, big hug for finally allowing it a rest.
Instead of ordering Dominos at 1 am most nights, I've actually been going to the grocery store, and I've even indulged in my fair share of fruits and veggies.
Without the stress of writing a 10-page essay, or having to attend five consecutive hours of class, I've given myself the quality time I've needed to get healthy.
I may have only visited the gym four times over the last month, but that's four more times than I ever went as a senior.
I'm definitely on the right track.
3. You'll get to spend quality time with your parents again.
Okay, so they may have been the type to call and talk to a parent whenever you wanted to go to a party in high school, but your mom and dad love the crap out of you.
They're hugely responsible for who you are today, too.
My mother passed away when I was young, so I've always been extremely close with my dad.
I'm not the least bit ashamed to say we're basically the same person, except he's much wiser and a thousand times more nerdy.
Despite how much he used to embarrass me as a kid, he is — and always will be — my absolute greatest hero.
I can't thank him enough for raising me the way he did all by himself.
After college is over, the time you spend with your parents may be limited, and when you're finally ready to start off as an independent person, their supervision and wise words may become much less existent in your everyday life.
Taking the time to live at home once more and cherish every moment with them will never be something you regret.
4. You're reminded of your roots.
Five years ago, I would've never predicted I'd be who I am today, let alone anticipate any of the things that happened to me since.
I mean, at one point, I seriously considered becoming a doctor, and then an entrepreneur, and then a landscape architect.
But, I couldn't be happier with where I ended up.
The dawn of all my gathered experiences and lessons learned originated from living in this town for most of my life.
I sat on this very couch and applied to over 12 universities, wrote out at least five different admissions essays and studied for the SATs at the same kitchen table that still stands today.
I learned that popularity wasn't the definition of "cool," and that playing every sport and joining every offered high school club wouldn't make or break my college acceptance.
I fell in love for the first time, watched my high school football team win the state championship and walked the downtown sidewalks more times than I can count.
This place, no matter how much I grew to hate it, molded me.
I can't help but feel insanely grateful for that.
5. You'll get closure on a crucial chapter of your life.
Yes, I may have wanted to live anywhere else on the planet for most of my time here, but saying goodbye to where I spent the last 18 years of my life will truly be bittersweet.
Here is where I met one of my best friends, when she asked me to come over her house and ride horses in the third grade.
I was hired for my first job at the ice cream shop on Main Street, which resulted in my longstanding hatred for anything sweet.
I learned loss, grief, friendship and happiness right here in this very place.
So whether or not I enjoyed my time here, it's irreplaceably significant either way.
With every good and bad memory wrapped up into one huge part of my life, it's safe to say I feel deeply connected to everything that's happened here.
So once more, I'll go to all of the places that were once my regular spots for a very long time.
I'll part ways with my high school, the public beach and the place I took my very first ballet lesson, and with that, I'll finally be ready to move on.
For all of you overachievers who landed your dream job in the big city before you even graduated, I seriously salute you.
But, if you're stuck in a situation like me, take my heartfelt advice, and don't rush to end up anywhere else but home.
We all have plenty of time to live the rest of our lives elsewhere.