Living at home has both benefits and challenges

Adeline Holte, Contributor

For some, college is already a massive challenge – attending classes, commuting to and from class and work, studying, doing homework, striving for work-life balance.

Then add the stress of being an adult and still living with your family. There are rules, distractions and expectations that come with living at home, that might not be as intense as when one lives on their own.

But with the cost of rentals in Madison and the fact that Madison College does not provide on-campus housing for students, many students do live at home.

They’re not alone.

According to Forbes, 54 percent of college students live at home. Some choose to live at home and like doing that. For others, it is a necessity.

Paige Reardon, a student enrolled at Madison College for court reporting, sees both sides.

“I save a ton by staying with my family. I don’t have to worry about roommates or landlords,” she said pointing out the benefits of living at home as a student. “And I like being close to my family.”

Reardon’s mother enjoys having her stay at home as well.

Reardon explains that spending time with family is important and that cherishing that time is something not to take for granted, even though schoolwork often takes first priority.            

Trying to find a balance between family life and schoolwork can be hard, especially when students feel obligated to stay on their family’s routine.

 “Sometimes my family expects me to be out with them or be on their routine, when I really need to be on my own at that point,” Reardon said.

Living at home creates another challenge – commuting. Students are faced with the cost of having a car, finding someone to carpool with or riding the bus. The time spent commuting, is also time away from studying or working. Then when one does get to the campus, there is the added time commitment of finding parking.

The biggest challenge of living at home, Reardon says, is that she has to commute and it takes her close to an hour to get to class.

 “I don’t like that I have a long commute,” Reardon said. “But it still eats up a lot of my day. I’m not a fan of having to leave an hour early for classes.”

Some students living at home do not have access to public transportation, something that makes reliability on getting to school on time a challenge. If their car breaks down or they have no one to give them a ride, they are forced to miss class. Since some classes have an attendance grade, this poses a problem for students relying on their own transportation from home.

College students already have a lot on their hands. Adding saving for gas and worrying about a reliable ride are difficult additions to the budget that most would rather not deal with. But with Madison College being a 100 percent commuter school, there are no other options than to commute. The only choice a student might have is whether that commute is from their own apartment, or from their family’s residence,

“I can save money and spend time with my family,” Reardon said. “But I would prefer my own place.”