Often we think of turning 21 as the big step to adulthood, however, there is a key element which is vital to becoming an adult: being able to take care of yourself. Freshman year it is typical that people move into a one room dorm with a meal plan. However, at some point, there are no options for dorms and no pre-made food there for you to eat whenever you want. That is the true leap to adulthood, when you move into an apartment and have to cook and clean for yourself.
Taking care of yourself seems pretty straight forward, you’ve been doing it all your life. But what about when it’s just you, a student with minimal income and no time for anything except studying and Netflix? As one of the many students who has taken this step, here are some things that I’ve learned in my first year living in an apartment:
- Food Budget: With a part-time job only providing a small income, it is EXTREMELY important to budget. I plan out my dinners weekly so I can have efficient shopping trips and keep myself from buying extra food. It is also important to factor in other costs such as buying coffees or going out to eat, as it can add up pretty fast.
- Cleaning Schedule: Living with roommates can be difficult, but sharing an apartment with multiple people can be even more frustrating. It is important to set up a schedule for cleaning everything from pots and pans to taking out the trash. You should remember that people grew up with different habits, so you should all be on the same page about how to keep things tidy.
- Enjoy yourself! Having my own room in college for the first time has reminded me of how great it is to hang out alone. Me time is always a good idea, it gives you time to de-stress and enjoy your hobbies. As usual, its important to manage your time between school work and you time.
- Stay social. Living in an apartment is cozy and can lead to becoming anti-social after discovering how great it is to have your own space. Make sure to still get out there and see people, whether its cooking with your roommates or going out to a basketball game with friends. I can say that I have learned so much from my roommates this year, its been great learning about their cultures and experiencing their food.
- Make it your own. Have fun decorating your apartment! I spent a lot of time on Pinterest finding things I wanted to make. DIY is the cheapest option when on a budget, as well as yard sales if you’re looking for furniture. Make your apartment an expression of who you are and enjoy doing it with by making things with friends and family.
Living in an apartment is a lot of responsibility, but being able to take care of yourself and your space is an important milestone in your life. Finding your own tricks like I have are a great way to manage the responsibilities while enjoying your life.