SALT LAKE CITY — Housing is getting harder and harder to find for the incoming students at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. So what do these kids do now? Stay at home or drive the 50 minutes to St. George and find an apartment? Live in Mom’s basement and do all their classes over Zoom — for another year?
BYU psychologist Tom Golightly joined Dave Noriega and Aimee Winder Newton, a member of the Salt Lake County Council, to talk about the impact this might have on students who are forced to live at home during their first year (or more) of college.
Failure to launch
“We need our kids to have those experiences of moving out, don’t we? I just think it’s so healthy for them to learn how to live on their own. So this is kind of terrifying,” Winder Newton said.
Dave thinks college is too expensive and kids should just stay home.
“Don’t actually go to Provo, don’t go to Southern Utah, just stay home. Go to Weber [State University]. Commute and save a ton of money,” he said.
“We try to encourage our kids to go live away from home. And as parents we we’ve told them, ‘We’ll help you with your housing and food but your own for tuition, books and fees,” Winder Newton said.
“How serious is the failure to launch of creeping in if you have your kids stay and commute to college,” Dave asked Golightly.
Don’t give too comfy
Attending college can be expensive and debts can quickly pile up, but not going away to college can place a person in a comfortable spot they stay stuck in, he said.
“What I’ve seen is, ‘Well, maybe I’ll just take a semester off of college.’ And then, because they’ve been living at home, you just see people get stuck. There’s no movement. They go get maybe a entry-level job and stay in that entry-level job for a couple of years. There’s no motivation to go forward into that next path,” Golightly said. “There’s no real consequence for a poor semester or things going wrong . . . because they’re always in that safety zone at home.”
“Some students may not have a choice when there’s no housing,” Winder Newton said. “Do you have any tips that you can give us to help have a healthy relationship for parents of students who still live at home?”
“It’s not like high school where you better be home at 10:30 on the school night. . . Their grades have to be there. It’s not like high school where you’re asking ‘Is your homework done?’ They’ve got to own responsibility for their education at that point. There are a lot of conversations that are going to be had, back and forth as you negotiate through what are the expectations and how much space can we give, what space you’re not willing to give and that they’re still a contributing member of the micro-culture in the home,” Golightly said.
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