For the first time in the 20 years I have been on this earth, I am officially living on my own.
I decided to live in the Bloom over the summer to take some classes and get ahead in my degree, but this also served as a way for me to learn how to be by myself and navigate a different city as an adult, and it has already changed me more than I thought it would.
I’d like to give you a list of things that I’ve learned about living in your first home away from home, as maybe it can help you navigate what it’s like to be independent for the first time in a new city.
- Don’t buy milk just because it’s 79¢. It expires a lot sooner than you think, and then you’re out of milk until your next grocery run.
- When it comes to being a respectful housemate/roommate, do your part. Take out the trash when it’s obviously overflowing – you can scrub your hands with steel wool afterwards. Do your dishes, and maybe a couple others just to be nice. It will pay off, and more people will want to live with you.
- Don’t spend all of your time at home. Yeah, it’s cool that you can call it “your place”, but, at the same time, it’s where you sleep and you’re limited on the amount of activities you can feasibly brag about (fourteen hours of Sims 3 doesn’t really sound that cool out loud).
- Now that you don’t have a curfew, it’s fun to stay out late. But get home at a reasonable hour. The next forty years of your life will not go smoothly if you’re waltzing into your place at 3:20 AM and you’ve got to be up at 7:30 to start your day.
- This is the time to start a routine (I love these). It’s an ever-changing process where you continuously try new things to see if they work for you. Some may, some may not. Either way, it’s a learning experience and it tells you a lot about yourself.
- This is also the time where you start learning about the ways of being an independent adult, capable of managing finances and keeping a pretty consistent life. For a great master post on being an adult, click here.
- Be social! Go out and try new things! There might be a kick-ass roller derby tournament or a local farmer’s market where you can interact with the people who are growing your food.
- Don’t eat crap. Buy food that grows from the earth and kick your cravings for TBell and Pizza X to the curb. If you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap, which is no way to go through life. Follow an 80/20 rule if you’re hell bent on retaining your chocolate consumption rate.
- Learn how to use local transportation. Thankfully, I was able to bring my car to school, so I don’t need to rely on the bus to get me to Krogucci (the best place to be). But if you have a bike or can walk, those pedals and steps can add years to your health. For places that are far beyond your reach, look up bus pass rates, look at the schedules, and find the ones that you can use. Hint: In places like Bloomington and IU, students can use BTown transit for free!
- Accept the fact that you will make mistakes. You will learn how to do things and may feel down about getting it wrong the first time. In the words of Maya Angelou, “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” Build a bridge and keep moving.
I hope that these sorts of things might put your mind at ease when thinking about getting your own place. It’s a little scary, but that small fear means you’re doing something right!