Advice offered on learning to be self-sufficient

Tracy Morris, Associate Vice President of Student Services

Okay, by now everyone has a working familiarity with the term “Helicopter Parent.”

Maybe it’s an exaggerated term, but what it conveys is concern that so many parents have for their children. Life and living is much more complicated today than even a decade ago and parents too are impacted by the choices their children make, but what about
those of you who are living at home while attending college? That’s another story.

Maybe you’re living at home to save some money to transfer to a university or maybe until you finish your applied degree or certificate and strike out into the somewhat daunting world of employment.

Perhaps you enjoy your family and want to stay at home a bit longer while others may have to help in caring for brothers, sisters, older relatives or parents.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, a record total of 21.6 million millennials lived in their parents’ home in 2012, up from 18.5 million of their same aged counterparts in 2007.

Approximately 56 percent of younger millennials (18-24) are much more likely than older ones (25-31 – 16 percent) to be living with their parents.

Whatever your reason for living with your parents, it’s a good idea to open the lines of communication and set up some parameters you can all live with.

By putting in a little proactive work, the time spent together can be harmonious and not disastrous, while enabling you to save a ton of money on room and board!
Here are some suggestions.

  •      Spend time at IVCC. Sounds like a no brainer? When you step on to campus, do more than go to class and leave. Spend some time in the Learning Commons, in the Library, in the lab or in the new CTC building. Utilize the free peer tutors, computer labs and instructor office hours.

If you spend your time wisely on campus, you will be amazed at what you can get accomplished and the time well spent will free up your time away from college.


  •           Establish a quiet study space at home. The study space can be a favorite corner, chair or an entire room. Make that the place you will land and put the time in to do your homework. Try to find a spot that you can commit to studying and that your distractions are limited. Some students tell me they study better with music. Know your successful study strategies and stick with them.
  •       Negotiate late nights and overnights. Typically parents are concerned about your safety and well being.

If you negotiate and communicate with your parents about what their expectations are for you and your need for freedom in advance, you
will both have a better understanding about what will be negotiable and what will be non-negotiable.
Ultimately, making good choices now alleviates trouble and it can open the door for increased freedom and responsibility.


  •                 Keep up your responsibilities. Remember that whether you are kicking in financially or not, the home is ultimately theirs. If you have household responsibilities, keep them: don’t let them have to remind you of what needs to be done. Being respectful and living like an adult will go a long way toward household harmony.
  •               Save it! It’s tempting when you’re living at home to buy the greatest and best, but part of the benefit of living at home is to give you the opportunity to squirrel away as much as you can for future expenses – whether a place of your own, a more reliable car, or university expenses. Saving now can make it so that you don’t have to work so many hours when you do transfer. Stop in and see the great staff in Financial Aid for the REAL cost of attending college to help you plan effectively.

We hope that a few of these suggestions will help make your time at home more pleasant. Need further help or direction in coping?