Living Away from Home

Written by Lauryn Evans

Living by yourself for the first time is just as much an adventure as it is a learning experience. On one hand, you get to experience the world freely and truly as your own autonomous being with no authority figure. No being hassled by your parents to do the dishes or to mop or to pick up the dog’s poop. You get to stay out late as you want, go where you want, and don’t have to keep having any sneaky little meetups. On the other hand, it means no more home-cooked meals from your parents, no asking your dad to check your car because you have no idea what the light on your dashboard means, and unfortunately, it also means you have to buy your own groceries. 

It is exciting to have a space you can truly make your own and one you can call your own. You don’t have to have the most luxurious place with high-end items, but the space that you create should feel like yours. Having an environment that reflects, comforts, and feels good to you is one of the most important things. This looks different for everyone – some prefer a more minimalist style and others eclectic. No matter what it means to you to make a space yours, it is all worth it. 

I truly recommend that if you have an unfurnished place and need furniture or other house items, whether it be a couch, a bed frame, or even plates, checkout facebook marketplace and second-hand stores. You’ll be surprised at some of the gems you can find and it will save you some money as well. If you are buying new, look for good deals and create a budget for yourself. You also don’t need to buy everything all at once or right away, it is okay to build up as you go. 

One of the most common challenges with living on your own for the first time is being responsible and holding yourself accountable. It can be easy to fall behind in chores, as it is easy to fall behind in school. We can get so caught up in our work and personal lives that we place our academia on the backburner, only to be surprised to find out we had a quiz due the day before or that you have a 10 page essay due this week. If you have a planner, utilize it. Write down when you have assignments due and when your tests are. Try to make it a habit to check your calendar to ensure you are keeping on track. If you have fallen behind and need more time, try asking your professor for an extension. If you are struggling with writing an essay, try visiting the writing center. The student success centre also has a broad range of resources that are accessible and of great use. 

Let’s move on to chores. Did anyone else hate doing dishes before? I know I did. It is easy to let your dishes pile up, or your clothes, but the more that builds up, the more annoying and hassle it becomes when you finally do them. Sometimes the things you hate can also become relaxing. Now, I put on a podcast or an audiobook and I wash my dishes with ease. If you can find time in your schedule, try to dedicate a day every week to just tidying up your space and when you will do a full clean. 

I know when I first moved out when I was 18 I missed my mom’s cooking. I wanted her pancit, thai curry, and goodness, I wanted her adobo. I began learning how to cook when I was fairly young and it was always something I enjoyed. A way that I brought pieces of home, and my mom, with me when I moved was by cooking these dishes. I learned to make adobo, turon, though I have yet to learn to make pancit, but that is on my list. Learn your parents’ cooking and inquire about their special tricks (they all have them). These foods will become some of the best comfort foods. 

Living on your own is an exciting thing and it’s a great way to also learn more about yourself. Sometimes this also means not knowing how to fill your time. Having a roommate, or multiple, can be really beneficial for some. You have someone to hangout with and talk to, but if you live on your own it can sometimes even become lonely at times. If you don’t already have hobbies, try to pick some up. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and find an outlet for yourself. 

When I first came to university, I lived in residence. That year was rather interesting to say the least. Though I wish lots of things happened differently, I was fortunate to meet my best friend that year whom I also now live with. There’s the notion that if you live with your friends that you will not be friends for much longer, which I’m glad wasn’t the case for us. When you live with others that you enjoy sharing space with, it makes things much more enjoyable. 

Moving out and being away from home for the first time requires adaptation. For some, this can take time and for others, it can happen rather fast. I am someone who adapts rather easily and comfortably, so being on my own wasn’t too hard for me. However, that doesn’t mean I never missed home. It’s okay to miss home, wherever and however that looks for you. 

It’s been five years since I moved out and I am still learning new things all the time, as well as unlearning. Be patient with yourself as you learn to navigate being away from home and be kind to yourself. Everyone adapts at their own speed, just as everyone learns things at their own pace and doing. 

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