Originally posted on 99problems.org on November 15, 2011
Graduating from college has been a wonderful accomplishment for me, considering the fact that I am the first person in my immediate family that has graduated from college. I couldn’t be any less excited about embarking on my career path. Struggling to find work and make money is a concern that most individuals know all too well.
Speaking from personal experience, graduating from college has been both a privilege and a burden. I was overwhelmed and excited the day that I crossed the stage to receive my BA in Broadcast Journalism. I never once thought that my life after graduation would be so difficult. I found myself living back at home several months before graduating from college, just to soften the blow of having to pay rent with a part-time job salary. I found it extremely difficult to find a full-time, entry level position within my field after graduation.
On Nov. 2, 2011, Young Invincibles and Demos released a study on our generation called The State of Young America: Economic Barriers to the American Dream. This report shows how today’s twenty-somethings, as a whole, are the first generation to face downward economic mobility compared to their parents’ generation.
The point of this report is to shed a light on the financial prospects that most young adults are facing now. Many individuals are finding it harder to get a job straight out of college and are forced to depend on other sources for income and housing; mainly consisting of parents, family and friends.
For me, the cost of living was becoming too much to maintain and I did the only thing I could think to do – went running home to mom and dad. Fortunately for me, my parents were understanding and willing to allow me to move back in. However, they were clear about it being a temporary situation. It has been over a year since I moved back home and with the job market being less than satisfactory for recent graduates, it might very well be another year before I can move out on my own. I am too much of an independent person for that.
This concept of moving back home to avoid extra spending costs seems to be something that a lot of young adults have been dealing with recently. I spoke to several close friends of mine in the same situation about why they chose to move back in with their parents.
Michelle Jones, a 2009 graduate from the University of Houston, has been living at home with her mother for three years now. She expressed that living at home allowed her to save up her money as well as become more financially stable before she decides on moving out.
“Moving out just really didn’t seem like an option,” Jones said. “With my student loan payments, car insurance payments and credit card payments, I couldn’t add rent payments into my equation. Financially, it was smarter for me to stay at home.”
George Costillo, a student at the University of Houston-Downtown, decided to move back in with his parents only after being on his own for a little less than a year.
“After I graduated from high school, I just really wanted to be on my own. Live on my own and do whatever I wanted to do. Yeah, that didn’t last long,” Costillo said. “Bills, bills, bills, that’s all I could think about. I was stressed all the time and too broke to eat. So I moved back home and although I hate it, it’s something I had to do.”
The State of Young America study also surveyed young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. This poll showcased a depiction of how young Americans view their own economic situations and their prospects for the future.
Check out this finding:
“The continued economic slump has caused a delay in important life decisions and concerns about future family life. Almost half (46 percent) have delayed purchasing a home, and nearly one-third of young people have delayed moving out on their own (33 percent) or starting a family (30 percent). A quarter has delayed getting married (25 percent). Minorities postponed these decisions with more frequency.”
The cost of living is becoming harder and harder to deal with for young Americans. We are fighting to find our place in this falling economy and within the workforce. Everyone I spoke with agrees that although they are currently living at home with their parents, they have not allowed that circumstance to hinder them from moving forward. Whether that means continuing their education or finding a better job, most young Americans still believe that their dreams can come true.