College students have a lot to juggle between school, work, internships and more. But the current generation isn’t just juggling – they’re boomeranging.
The “Boomerang Generation” refers to young adults who leave home, go to school and then return back home after graduation.
According to Pew Research Center studies, 29 percent of young adults in their late 20s and early 30s live at home. Of this group, 78 percent are satisfied with their living situation, and 77 percent are optimistic about their financial future.
But what about students 18 to 24, still in school and commuting from their parents’ home to UCF?
Shaun Milosevich, a digital media junior, plans to move back in with his parents for the duration of college.
“I basically can’t afford to live on my own anymore,” said Milosevich. “I’ve had to work just about any time that I wasn’t in class in order to afford rent. However, now that I’m back as a full-time student, I don’t have the time to put in more work hours to afford living on my own.”
Milosevich said that he won’t have to contribute rent while he lives with his parents, as he will be focusing on school full time. Pew reported that 48 percent of “boomerang kids” paid rent to their parents while living at home, and 89 percent helped with household expenses.
Diane Prather, a sociology faculty member who teaches a Family Trends course, said in an email:
“If the parents are having them pay a nominal fee in rent and help with chores,” she said, “the young adult has a better chance in being a successful student, as they have learned how to be responsible.”
Lisa-Marie Rieckhoff, a hospitality junior, doesn’t pay her parents for rent, but does pay gas, tolls and car insurance to cover the cost of commuting. She currently works two jobs to cover her expenses, and to save for the future, she wants to pick up a third job.
“I had to understand that financially, living away from home is not an option,” said Rieckhoff. “For now, I’m living there while I focus on budgeting and making sure I have enough money eventually to pay my own rent, insurance, phone and car.”
Rieckhoff hasn’t always lived at home while in college. As an out-of-state student from Wisconsin, she stayed on campus for two years before returning home after a difficult sophomore year. Rieckhoff almost did not return for her junior year. But then, her father earned a promotion that relocated her family to Orlando, giving Rieckhoff the opportunity to return to UCF as a commuter student.
“If I hadn’t been able to live at home, I definitely wouldn’t have come back to school,” she said. “I could live there until graduation but after … I’d just feel ashamed of myself. It sounds dramatic, but I want to be an adult living on my own.”
Rieckhoff prefers living independently, but is among the 48 percent of “boomerang kids” who indicate that their living arrangement hasn’t affected their family dynamics.
Timothy L. Johnson II, an interdisciplinary studies junior, is among the 24 percent who have had a positive experience living with their parents as an adult.
“I get to help my parents out with certain things as they get older, and it slows the empty nest thing they will go through,” he said. “Plus I know it makes them happy.”
But even in a mutually beneficial situation, Johnson said that the “bad stigma” of living at home after graduation would encourage him to move out.
“In America, we have this idea that if you still live at home after graduation then you aren’t really adjusting to adult life. It’s seen as childish and adolescent,” he said. “…Honestly, I think it’s kind of ridiculous, but it is what it is.”