By Matt Sugam
It was the end of May in 2011 and the lease on my apartment in New Brunswick was coming to an end. Fresh out of college, having graduated from Rutgers University two weeks earlier with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies and Sociology, I was moving back home.
"It won’t be that bad," I thought. I’d be there for six months to a year before I found a full-time job in the field of journalism, and in turn, be able to move out soon after. If the new job was in the area, I’d save some money and then move out, and if it was out of the area, I’d be out the door the next day.
Fast-forward to today and I’m still living at home with my parents. 24, going on 25, I still don’t have a full-time job. I’m a freelance writer, mainly covering sports but doing community news as well. I live paycheck to paycheck, and that’s with the free rent and free food. It’s a daily struggle as I scour the Internet for jobs, hoping to find a full-time one.
As for living at home, it has its ups and downs. I get along well with my parents, so the quarrels are few and far between. And I’m far from the only one of my friends from high school to be back home after college, so there’s things to do. The tough part for me is not having the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I have no idea when I’ll be able to move out. I just know it likely won’t be anytime soon, as it won’t be until I get a full-time job, and I’ve grown tired of speculating when that will come.
It is not that I should be surprised by my situation. The warning every teacher in every journalism class gave was a simple one. Don’t get into this job for the money. It’s a constant struggle to make ends meet and few make it to the top, where that struggle then ceases. However, they didn’t say that would include the inability to move out of your parent’s house for over two years. And they should have, because I’m not the only one.
Virtually every person from school I know that got into this field is in the same situation as I am. So I get some solace that I’m not alone. And I love the work I do, which not many can say about their job. But most have much more financial security than I have. They may live at home now, but know they’ll be out soon. Me? I don’t put a timetable on it anymore. That can only lead to disappointment. My only hope is that I’m on my own before I’m 30.