Frequently in modern times the only context in which we read about young people is through the media portrayal of graduates in financial difficulty or with a lack of appropriate employment. But what about hard working youngsters, actively trying to achieve their goals? Newspapers, such as the Daily Mail are always keen to depict those in their 20s as helpless, clueless and useless. Anyone in the under 25's category are frequently grouped together for media convenience as one gaggle of adolescent juveniles, mindlessly bumbling around life, expecting Mum and Dad to pay for it.
However is the reason that so many young people are waiting longer to leave the security of their parents' house, purely financial? When people leave university they are immediately under pressure to financially support themselves. Regularly the only option available in a climate of huge unemployment is a minimum wage job that bares no relation to the subject of their degree, or the area they want to go into. Therefore generally the 21-25 age group end up having to straddle working simply for money and pursuing their dream career. All energy and brain power goes into job searching and getting onto the rung of a ladder. A lot of 20 something's have the motivation to go into a particular profession but when a day of sending CVs and trying to get a foot, or just a couple of toes in the door is done, who are we most likely to turn to for emotional support? Usually the answer is our parents. Often people seemed too scared to admit this, as if it's weak, but what's wrong with wanting a cup of tea and a moan at someone you know will listen? As many friends as you have in your inner circle, we are all in the same boat so reassurance and aspiration from older settled adults is natural reaction.
I still live at home with my parents and definitely don't fit into this media image of the 23 year old living at home, where everything is free or where I am stuck due to extreme financial difficulty. Like many others I'm here for now because of the much needed support provided in other ways. I have been living with my parents for almost a year now, after leaving college and then a brief spell living in the real world. Of course number one reason for this is financial but I have found another motive for staying that I did not expect, emotional support, offered while trying to make a living in the big wide post university world.
At university you are lead to believe that at the end you will get a degree, which will lead to employment, when in fact a degree is only the beginning of a long arduous search for a future career. So why is it shocking that young people need support in various different ways from their families? Yes, there are those that expect parents to support them through internship after internship while failing to seek paid employment because, as a member of the bank of Mum and Dad, they don't have to. But a financial motive is not the sole reason why those my age are staying at home.
Whilst times are tough in financial terms, the more important issue is that people are not being given enough advice and support from universities and potential employers to achieve their goals. When university courses finish, even before final exams it can often feel like they wipe their hands clean of you. Therefore where else is there to retreat to apart from the support of our parents, the place guaranteed at the very least to provide sympathy.
Additionally for my building my career as a musician and writer I have found myself in a situation whereby living just outside London is where I need to be to get work, this is my perfect location and therefore trickier than expected to move out. A lot of landlords will not accept musicians as tenants, due to potential noise pollution, so finding an affordable property to rent in this area is going to take some time. Many of my friends who are not as geographically lucky have to move down here and sacrifice previous essentials such as food or heating. The reason I am telling you this is again to highlight the reason why people move back home is not always as cut and dried as lack of funds.
The press seem to take the view that young people should get off their bum and get on with it, but are we supposed to do that while living alone in a bedsit? Currently I do help out financially, giving my parents money for the house and the food, but quite honestly I am not ready to leave behind the ability to come home and whinge to my Mum about various elements of working life (lucky Mrs Hayden). Regularly we are reading statistics on the number of young people living at home, which groups us together, as though we're all in cahoots. The publishing of this data always seem to have an undertone of making the people involved feel inadequate or as though living at home is somehow a failure. Most graduates just want to try and kick start their careers without constantly reading that their doomed to have no money and will be living with Mum and Dad until they're 45, just let us get on with it.