SIKESTON -- Despite their dreams of moving into a place to call their own post-college, many recent graduates don't have that option. Tuition, credit card debt and high costs of living leaves many, dubbed as "boomerangers," to move back home with Mom and Dad.
Twenty-two year old Erin Eberhard of Sikeston is one of these boomerangers. Earlier this month, she received a degree in social work from Southeast Missouri State University, but will be living with her parents until her September wedding.
"There's no point in getting an apartment when we're getting a house in a few months," Eberhard said.
If she weren't getting married soon, the situation would probably be different, and she would be searching for an apartment, Eberhard said.
She isn't alone. A 2006 MonsterTrak survey found that 48 percent of students will return to their family home after graduation. Additionally, 44 percent of 2005 graduates were still living with their parents.
Recent grads moving back home obviously causes some problems. "While some boomerangers manage to avoid the pitfalls of moving back home again, many don't adequately prepare themselves for the practical, economic, and emotional realities of moving back in with Mom and Dad," author Elina Furman said in a May 10 news release.
Eberhard was somewhat prepared for her living arrangement, since she has been living at home and commuting since August. "It's like it always has been," she said. "Ever since I've started college I've never had a curfew," she said.
But there are problems, too. "I've still living under Mommy and Daddy's roof, so I still have to abide by their rules," she said. "Some things they're pretty lenient on and some things they're not."
The living situation is stressful for Eberhard and her parents. Her parents are buying more food and worrying about her more while she is living there. And she is having to get in the routine of leaving notes posting them on her whereabouts. Not having a job secured yet is also making things tough. "I have to run errands and do chores all over again," she said. "Since I'm home all day without a job, I'm taking a bigger responsibility for all of the chores."
For instance, instead of only cooking for herself, washing her own dishes and doing her own laundry, she is doing it for an entire family. But once she gets a job, she anticipates the chores will be more evenly distributed.
Another problem for Eberhard is getting along with her 20-year-old brother, Justin, who is also back home for the summer. A major issue is who is going to shower when. "It's just like having a roommate and living in the dorms," she said.
The author Furman, a former boomeranger herself, has written the book "Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living with your Parents the Second Time Around" to help young adults and their parents handle the pressures of living together post-graduation. "My goal is to help grads realize (that) not only can they go home again, they can survive and thrive there," she said in the news release.
Five of Furman's tips were outlined in the news release. First, a move out deadline should be set to motivate students and prevent parents from becoming frustrated.
Another tip is not to let parents baby you by taking on household responsibilities. Eberhard already pitches in, but has found herself having to establish that line in other situations, like depositing graduation money in the bank herself, instead of taking up her mom's offer to deposit it for her.
"She just thinks she's helping me out and its easier for her to do it because she works at a bank," Eberhard said.
Furman tells recent graduates not to put their lives on hold and to have a goal they work on with their parents to achieve. She also suggests paying rent -- and remember it's not the amount that is important, but the act of contributing.