Living at home while in college can be great for saving money but can have its downsides as far as generating a college experience; it also makes it difficult to separate yourself from your former high school identity and to manufacture the independence associated with college. These tips should help you close the gap between feeling like a commuter and the rest of the on-campus kids.
Get Involved in the Campus Community
Join a sport or intramural team, a fraternity or sorority (if and when possible; and if and when “Greek Life” is for you), any clubs or associations or even just create a study group of your own. So much of college is about he socialization aspect of college, the communal life. All of this can still be achieved regardless of where you live. Sure some items like dorm room scavenger hunts and mixers might not be available, but college is filled with a litany of other opportunities. You’ve simply got to search them out- if you’re lucky, some may even come to you!
Communicate with your Family
Because you’re living at home, you may find it difficult to separate you and your family’s paradigm of your high school self and your college self, of what rules and roles you may have played then opposed to what they should be now. Talk to your parents about what you’d like to change, if anything. It’s still their house and they’re paying the mortgage so you might not have carte blanche, but strive toward some amenable ground of compromise. You’ll likely find that your parents are more willing than you thought: new rules and opportunities means a new echelon of maturity, and as maturity is precisely what they hope you’ll achieve through your studies, they’ll likely be open to helping you attain this next echelon.
Don’t Abuse the Privilege
Abusing your new freedom might just result in more being taken away; respect what you’ve agreed to, or, if you feel it to be in need of adjustment, talk instead of blowing apart the agreement and leaving you with little or no breathing room in new negotiations.
Designate a Study Space
A good way to separate yourself at home can be to set up a study spaces, studio or workshop (whatever your education demands) and annex that space as your own. Having a study space will allow you to change your frame of mind from your school and your house. Just being able to enter into a different frame of mind in your own house will minimize some of the distance you might feel from the campus. Similarly, set up a social space where you can hang out and invite new friends, study groups, or group projects without having to worry about your little sister or grandma barging in every fifteen minutes.
Remember, college isn’t about dorm rooms and frat houses; it’s about expanding your horizons, either socially or educationally, and that can be done no matter where you live. Implementing these tips will help dissolve any barriers you might feel are getting in the way of exploring those horizons.