Candice Fisher '03 lived with her parents for a short time after college and before graduate school.
pointed out."There are some people who
might have separated from a spouse, some
who may have lost a job. In some cases, it
may be that the parent needs some help -
they might be sick. Everyone talks about
the kids needing help, but sometimes
they're giving it."
Changes in the housing market also have
been a factor in the boomerang trend.
"Houses have gotten substantially bigger, so
it's easier for a child to move back," Rind-
fuss said. "Also, it's substantially more
expensive now than 20 years ago to rent or
buy a house. Larger houses make it easier
to live with one's parents, and higher
expense is an additional reason for wanting
to live with one's parents."
How Not to Boomerang or
How to Leave Home Again If You Have
Young alumni move home for a number of reasons, but the most common is that first, post-college "real job"
either proves elusive or doesn't last Good job-searching skills can help keep recent graduates fromneeding to move
back home - or speed the process of moving back out again.
''The big shift when you're out of school is that you really are
responsible for the search yourself;' said Linda Conklin, a certified
career coach and manager of the GAfls Alumni Career Services. "You
don't have the job fairs and recruiters coming in. Most are over·
whelmed by the process."
Conklin suggests young alumni look over their cover letter and
resume to make sure they are presenting themselves as best they can.
''As an employer, I want to know what you have done and what you
learned from that;' Conklin said. "Do you show up on time? Are you
good with customers?"
Recent graduates without job experience face particular challenges,
but Conklin has advice specifically for them. "If you have been working
so diligently all throughout your college career that you haven't had
time for ajob, my recommendation is a professional internship;' she
said. "You're saying to an employer, 'I will come and create my own
internship with you for maybe three months. What I'm looking for is a
project to manage and to build my resume. You don't even have to pay
Conklin learned the technique from her daughter, who worked without pay for a professor for three months while
living at home. Her daughter gained job experience, a good reference and a lot of contacts, which quickly led to a
professional position. For such an arrangement to work, parents have to be willing to support their children for three
more months after graduation. Conklin suggests they think of it as the equivalent of a co-op work semester.
How to Make It
Work at Home
In Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Uving with
your Parents the Second Time Around (Rreside, 2005),
Elina Furman offers five tips for making the experience
a positive one. Carolina alumni have figured out most
of them on their own.
1 Set a move-out deadline. • Samuel Hayes '06 lived at home in Greenville
after graduation, but only until he could move into the
condo where he'll live while attending medical school at
ECU. Candice Fisher '03, who stayed for three post·grad·
uation months in her parents' Durham home, advised
boomerangers to have a plan "so you don't look up
one day and you've been there six months."
2 Don't let them baby you; • show you're responsible by
helping out around the house.
When Christopher Walker '06 went home to Washington,
N.C., to work for his parents after graduation, he took
up his share of the chores. "I've cooked din-
ner for them multiple times. I clean up.
I lived with them for 18 years
before college - I
know when they do
laundry, when the
dogs need to go out."
3 Don't put • your life on hold.
Parents and adult children both
need to maintain their social lives.
Walker has friends nearby who also moved home for
the summer, and he enjoys getting out on the water on
the weekends. "My parents are really cool about what·
ever I need to do," he said, "go to the beach, take a
couple days off. They let me do my own thing."
4 Have a goal, whether it's • finding a job, saving a down
payment, paying down debt or get-
ting into grad school.
Kathryn Idol '05 moved back home to Greensboro while
waiting to get into medical school. This fall, she'll enter
medical school at ECU with a healthy savings account
and a year teaching grade-school science behind her.
5 Pay rent, even a token • amount, to make a contribu-
tion to the household.
Not everyone is in agreement on this paint. "My mom
thought it was dumb to charge children rent when
they're trying to get on their feet;' Idol said. "She knew
I had a goal and wasn't coming here to mooch off
Share your thoughts and read what other alumni
have to say about moving back home at
alumn i.unc.edu/ boomerang.
CAROLINA ALUMNI REV I E W