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  • Katrina Lorenzo, M.S., LMFT

How to Navigate College While Living at Home

Navigating college while living at home could be both a relief and a bit of a challenge. You have your support system, yet want to make new connections. Maybe you have your laundry and groceries done for you, yet you wonder what your independence is going to look like? It is completely normal to feel relieved and hesitant about beginning your college experience while living at home. Here are a few tips on how to navigate college while living at home.

Personal Fulfillment

Now that you have graduated high school, you may have a pretty good idea of what your interests are or maybe you have no idea and are ready to explore. Now is the time to seek out and find what brings you personal fulfillment, or what brings you joy. There are so many conversations happening on a college campus. Finding a club or organization that peeks your interest and will have you engaging on campus is an excellent way to help you feel connected to your school despite going home at the end of the day.


If you are weary of finding solid relationships like the ones you have made in high school or if you are starting school as a clean slate, now is a fantastic time to begin making new connections. In finding what brings you personal fulfillment, surely you are to meet a person or two. There are various club or organizations on campus comprised of like-minded people. Joining a club or organization is a great starting point of making new connections and broadening your social circle. Making these connections will entice you to do social things whether in the club or organization or off campus, thus further contributing to your college experience.


If you continue living at home, there is a strong chance mom or dad is helping you with laundry, cooking your meals, making appointments, etc. A good start to claiming your independence is to start taking on some responsibilities. Start by making your own doctor appointments. Maybe take on a grocery run or preparing your meals. Ask your parent to teach you how to do laundry. Perhaps, you have time for a part-time job. If you feel you are able to balance duties as a full-time student and club or organization member, then why not take on a part-time job and start making some money (independence). Taking on these small roles will help you learn responsibility and thus prepare you for life as a young adult.


Like anything in life, balance is integral. It may take a few weeks to find what balance looks like. It can be a bit overwhelming adapting to a commute to and from campus, attending classes, showing up for club or organization meetings, doing class work and assignments, social life, family life, and time for yourself. Though it may take a minute, it is important you learn how to balance. Learning how to say "no" will be a game changer. Whether it is telling your parents no to a family outing because you have to work on a paper, or telling your friends no because you committed to your family, or telling yourself no because you have to rest. Boundaries are going to be a massive help in finding your balance.

These are just a few tips on how to navigate college while living at home. A big part of what I do is help my clients navigate such life transitions and find their footing. At the end of the day, give yourself some grace. This is a brand new experience!

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