For many young people, that final over-revved kangaroo hop down the road to university from their parents' house is a triumph. The parents, weeping and waving in the doorway, lament that this summer was probably the last family pilgrimage to Southend. A small part of them is rather relieved.
It's not that these soon-to-be students disliked living at home. However, they are anticipating the sweet taste of £1 pints, and the subsequent skiving off from morning lectures. Lie-ins without the maternal voice of reason at their bedroom door, brandishing toast.
Moving out is an important rite of passage. Students may not own the key to the door at 21 (or 31 for that matter) but they gain much-sought independence from the moment they're forced to learn the mysterious shorthand of washing symbols. The notion of ever moving back home feels ridiculous; a bit like buying a dog with your partner as a pre-baby road test, then buying a hamster a year later.
However, a growing number of students are returning to the parental digs after their degree ends – many of them because they are unable to find the employment which seemed so assured three years ago. Not only are the new graduate's five-year plans not working out, they are now forced to share their old bedroom with their sister, ten, who wakes up at 7am every morning to the dulcet tones of Nicki Minaj.
It is not surprising, then, that two-thirds of UK parents have failed to make a will according to a recent survey by HSBC.
It is not because they are booking luxury cruises and buying the more expensive garden decking in B&Q. In reality, they are not yet thinking about what their offspring will inherit because their kids are still actively relying on their income.
Three million young adults in the UK have returned home, says Mintel, the market analyst. The boomerang generation is coming back fast.
Yes, this gives them a chance to make up for their teenage tantrums, the time they hot-boxed the family car, and when they exploded the microwave trying to cook soup in the can.
But, we need to ask ourselves: what are the consequences for society of a generation going backwards? If the current youth unemployment levels continue long term, cruises (and even Southend) are looking increasingly off the cards.
Natalie Cox is a journalism student at Goldsmith's, University of London.Reuse content