Selling your parents, pay for housing
For some of us, the start of the new semester did not mean cramming all of our belongings into an oversized grey laundry cart and squeezing into a residence hall elevator. We few were spared a miserable morning of sanitizing every inch of a new living space, hooking up what seems like miles of Internet cables and meticulously adhering a cache of posters to cover 20 square feet of bare white walls. For escaping the aforementioned horrors of moving day, I feel grateful that I am a commuter.Late night and early morning fire alarms, hall mate powwows over last minute assignments, as well as countless all-nighters — not just to study or crank out a ten page paper for a 10 a.m. class, but sometimes because of an unexplained compulsion to watch a marathon of "The Hills" — are all basic elements of campus living. Commuters are often pegged as missing out on this "college experience." I cannot say, though, that I feel disadvantaged by my off-campus status.Life lessons learned from living in dormitories at the University are undeniable — how to manage your time, the value of having and defending your own opinions, as well as understanding how to compromise in order to keep the peace with your roommates. Yet I too have learned some important lessons while living under my parents' roof. As a first-year student, I lived in a residence hall and participated in on-campus activities, despite my family home being less than a 15-minute drive away. Returning home one year later gave me a new perspective, not on my place or involvement at Rutgers, as I had anticipated it would, but rather on my relationship with my family. Being at home did not make me feel totally removed from what was going on on-campus or with my friends, but being in my parents' house did make me feel more connected to them.Last weekend, a Connecticut man, Michael Amatrudo, listed his parents on the classifieds site Craigslist, advertising "Will consider trade for newer model, hot blonde under age 40 or an Erector Set in good condition. MUST SEE! Please e-mail or call Michael for additional details and pics. $155.00," according to NBC New York.51-year-old Amatrudo was simply bored or looking to play a practical joke on his loving parents; but, at one time or another, the desire to get rid of one's parents has been a prevalent feeling for most individuals. Residence hall living is seen by many as an opportunity to finally escape the overbearing, overprotective eyes of parents and gain some much needed independence.I am watching my brother, a high school senior, prepare his college applications with this exact mentality playing into some very heavy decisions. As for many others in his position, the State University of New Jersey is not even on a list of schools to consider, simply because it is seen as being too close to home.Certainly, Rutgers is not for everyone, nor is spending one's college years living with their parents. But for me, being at home I feel farther than I ever have from needing independence, and while the urge to sell my parents has almost completely gone, my 12-year-old brother is a different story. One year since moving back in with my parents, it is clear what has changed from my high school years. Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Earlier I would have said that simply removing myself from my parents' control would be the necessary action to ease the tensions between us. If living with them hadn't been a pleasant experience before going off to college, how could things possibly be different now? Although I was doing the same thing — surrendering to life in my parents' home — what was different was me. Yet if you truly find it impossible to tolerate your parents' presence, you may want to go ahead and take a cue from Amatrudo. He received a high number of phone and e-mail inquiries on his offer. Maybe while you're carefully crafting an advertisement that highlights your parents' assets, like your mom's superb brisket or your dad's occasional whit, you'll realize the mistake you're making. If you have the guts to go ahead with it for two "gently used" parents, you may just make a profit enough to finance your room and board, or at least cover the cost of a few textbooks. Larissa Klein is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in art history. Her column, "The Definition of Insanity," runs on alternate Thursdays.
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