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The first time: living on your own

Moving away from your family to live at university can be a challenging transition. We’re here to make it easier …

It can be hard to figure out how to live your life without every moment being dictated by your parents’ expectations or your school commitments. However, this is a great opportunity for you to gain some independence. To get you started, here are a few pieces of advice:

  • Living with roommates: Set ground rules about what time is lights out, how late visitors are allowed, how much noise is acceptable, etc. Things can get passive-aggressive and nasty if you don’t let your roommate(s) know what you expect and come to a compromise. You may not get along with your first roommate. That’s okay; lots of people don’t and they learn to deal with them. However, if things between you and your roommate are so bad that you feel you can’t live with her or him anymore, you can probably request to change rooms. This should only be used as a last resort. Part of university life is learning to coexist with people you may not particularly care for.
  • Cooking for yourself: Go grocery shopping and buy food that you can make easily for yourself. You can’t rely on your parents to cook for you anymore, so you might as well learn. Even if you have a food plan at your university, it’s a good idea to learn how to cook for yourself. At uni, it can be easy to stop eating regular meals and live on unhealthy snacks, but do your best to keep good eating habits.
  • Living in halls: You’re going to have to get used to a certain amount of noise; it’s just the way it is. If you’re someone who gets easily disturbed by noise, I recommend earplugs. It can be hard trying to sleep when the halls get noisy, but this too is something you’ll get used to eventually. Like everything else, it gets easier. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re the type of person who’s inclined to be noisy, be considerate of the other people in your hall. If it’s late at night or early in the morning, do your best to keep your voice down and avoid slamming doors. Your roommates will thank you for it!
  • Bathrooms: Don’t expect to be able to keep things in the communal bathroom without them getting “borrowed” or stolen. Keep your things in your room if you want to avoid accidentally sharing your soap.
  • Laundry: Unfortunately, you’ll have to do it eventually. To avoid getting there and finding that all the washers are full, try to do laundry at odd times, such as on weekday afternoons or late in the evening. To save money, don’t do laundry more often than you need to, but don’t wait to do it until you’ve run out of clean underwear.
  • Self-control: Your parents aren’t around anymore to tell you to do your homework and when to go to bed. That responsibility is all on you now, so be sure to set some rules for yourself. This applies to study habits, spending money, and anything else that should be done in moderation. You’re living on your own in the adult world now. Prove you’re mature enough to handle it.
  • Budget: Now that you’re living on your own, you’ll have to start thinking about when and where to spend money. Since you may not have a job, and therefore no income, you’ll probably want to spend as little as possible. You can make yourself a weekly budget and try not to go over it. Use your budget on things you absolutely need to buy, such as food. You can always save a little money to have fun with your friends, but don’t go overboard.

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