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Doing Online College From My Parents’ House Is Not as Bad as I Thought

Coming into my junior year of college, this is not the way I thought things would be. The world is slightly falling apart, and every day there's some crazy headline about a new natural disaster or how COVID-19 numbers keep on increasing.

Back in March, at the start of this pandemic, I really thought that by June, everything would be back to normal — but little did we know that “normal” meant something completely different. I came home for spring break and suddenly, my whole world as I knew it had shifted. I moved back home to live with my parents in the meantime but still kept my apartment near campus for my return in August. Come June, it became very clear that classes would be online, and returning to Orlando to be near UCF wasn’t necessary for me. My job on-campus had finished the previous semester, sports were on hold, and school would be through Zoom. At the start of the pandemic, I was living with my parents while still paying for an apartment that I wasn’t living in, and working full time in my hometown. Moving back to Orlando for the fall semester didn’t make sense for me and my situation.

My parents were prepared to support whatever decision I made, but I was beating myself up about what I should do. I’d been living on my own for the past two years and loved my freedom and space, but giving up my apartment (at least for one semester) would mean I'd be able to live rent-free and save up money. I did what I always do in these situations and created a pros and cons lists. What are the pros of me staying in Orlando? What are the pros of me leaving? What are the cons of me staying in Orlando? What are the cons of me leaving?

[bf_image id="q8yv0x-56h0zc-dxstuo"] I went back and forth in my head for weeks, and I couldn’t decide. I knew that staying home with my parents, financially, would be the best idea, but it’s not what I really wanted to do. I love my apartment and I didn’t want to miss out on my college experience. The more I sat with this thought, I realized there wasn’t really much I would be missing out on. The world right now, for the most part, is on hold.

Once I reluctantly decided that I would be staying home to live with my parents for the semester, I found someone to sublease my apartment, and that was the end of that. From one day to another, I had to pack up and move all my things back into the room I grew up in. I wasn’t happy with the idea, but I knew it was the right decision for me. My parents and I set some ground rules for our new living situation. The same way I got used to living on my own, they got used to not having kids in the house. It was an adjustment for all of us, but we slowly got the hang of it. I help out around the house and, of course, I still had my freedom with some restrictions.

Living with your parents really isn't the worst thing in the world. Part of me was almost embarrassed that I was moving back home; it felt like I had given up or something, but it was a decision I made to help me in the long run. I moved back home expecting the worst but have been happily surprised to see how content I am with the way things are going. Of course, COVID-19 is still around, but with the right precautions I've been able to see some friends here and there. Living with my parents as an adult has helped strengthen our relationship more than ever before. We understand each other better and have more patience for one another. I'm working at a job I really enjoy with some of my best friends, and saving up every penny I can for when I move back to UCF in the spring.

Many of my friends made the same decision that I have to move back home rather than stay in their college towns, so it’s nice to know that I'm not alone. At first, I looked at this whole situation as a negative, but it really has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve been working like crazy these past couple of months to save up my money, and have even been able to treat myself every once in a while. I've been able to fully focus on myself for once, now that I don’t have as many responsibilities and have my family nearby to support me in all of my ventures. [bf_image id="68tnp6j9tzj55cj7mxj7p3gt"]

I changed my attitude and have been making the best of the situation. It’s only temporary and definitely better than I thought it would be; besides, who doesn’t love a good home-cooked meal every evening? All in all, I really can’t complain. I'm grateful for having such supportive parents who welcomed me back home with open arms and no hesitations.

Stephanie was born in Venezuela and is currently a junior at UCF majoring in radio and television on a media management and operations track and minoring in sports business management. If you ever need to get a hold of her, odds are she is somewhere swimming around in a pool or in the ocean. She loves all things fitness and self care and is always up for a good day in watching movies all day long if she was able to. If you want to keep up with what she's up to, you can follow her instagram @stephsequera.
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